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THE HARVARD CLASSICS 

EDITED BY CHARLES W ELIOT LL D 



THE ODYSSEY OF HOMER 

TRANSLATED BY 
S H BUTCHER AND A LANG 



WITH INTRODUCTION AND NOTES 
VOLUME 22 




P F COIXIER & SON COMPANY 
NEW YORK 



Copyright, 1909 
By p. F. Collier & Son 

manufactured in u. s. a. 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

Book I ^•••m.. g 

Book II o . • • . 22 

Book III 34 

Book IV « 48 

Book V 7i 

Book VI 85 

Book VII .....0.0....... 94 

Book VIII 104 

Book IX 120 

Book X 136 

Book XI 152 

Book XII 169 

Book XIII 181 

Book XIV I93 

Book XV 208 

Book XVI o , * . . e . 224 

Book XVII . * o . 238 

Book XVIII * . . 255 

Book XIX ......,., p * « . 267 

Book XX . . . . , „ ^ . . 284 

Book XXI 295 

Book XXII « * .... 307 

Book XXIII , . . . * 321 

Book XXIV , . . , , s 33i 



A— Vol.22 1 HG 



INTRODUCTORY NOTE 

By the ancient Greeks the authorship of their two great ep4c 
poeins, the *'Iliad" and the "Odyssey," was ascribed to Homer. 
Tradition as to the birthplace of this poet varied greatly, but 
the place most favored was Smyrna in Asia Minor. It was re- 
lated also that the poet was blind, that he made his hom£ in the 
island of Chios, and that he died in los. 

The siege of Troy, which forms the subject of the "Iliad" and 
is the occasion of the wanderings of Odysseus, is unknown to 
history. Modern archaeological research has, indeed, unearthed 
in Asia Minor a site which may plausibly be identified with the 
Homeric city, and it is entirely possible that here there once 
occurred a struggle between two peoples inhabiting the shores 
of the Aegean Sea; but no discovery has been or is likely to be 
made such as to render Homer's story of the war in any strict 
sense historical. 

Whatever may be the truth as to the method of composition 
of the two epics, it may safely be surmised that they were pre- 
ceded by a mass of legend that had in time gained a certain 
amount of cohesion and become in a sense national. But the 
constituent elements of this legend would have come together 
from a great variety of sources; and many incidents in both 
poems can be paralleled in the folk-tales of widely scattered 
peoples. Thus the story of the blinding of the Cyclops, Polyphe- 
mus, is found as a separate tale in several countries where no 
Greek influence can be traced; the adventure in the isle of Circe 
appears in an Indian collection of tales; the descent into Hades 
is told by the South Sea Islanders; and the central situation of 
the return of a far-traveled warrior to a wife who fails to rec- 
ognise him occurs in stories all over the world. In the "Odyssey" 
these and a hundred other incidents are combined into a single 
plot of the most admirable structure, with almost perfect unity 
of atmosphere, the whole being placed in the social setting of 
the kingly age of Greece. 

Until comparatively recent times it had been all but univer- 
sally believed that both the "Iliad" and the "Odyssey" were the 
work of a single author, who conceived and executed the whole 
plan of each. But in 17^$ F, A. Wolf argued that in the tenth 

3 



4 INTRODUCTION 

century B. C, when he supposed the poems to have been co^nt^ 
posed, writing was not used by the Greeks for literary purposes., 
and that therefore they must have been handed down orally 
and so have undergone many changes. The unity which he 
perceived in both epics he conceived to have been due to the 
art of later revisers, working upon more or less detached poems 
by various authors. Since his time controversy has raged over 
this ^'Homeric question" and there is yet no prospect of agree- 
ment. The extreme view that the poems are mere aggregations 
of separate lays of different authorship is falling out of favor; 
no two scholar's agreeing in their analysis of the epics into their 
supposed constituent lays. On the other hand, it is admitted thai 
there are clear evidences that parts of the poems belong to 
different dates; and the tendency is to credit the composition of 
two shorter epics dealing respectively with the Wrath of Achilles 
and the Return of Odysseus to an author of great artistic genius, 
and to conjecture that episodes were added by imitators, now 
at this point and now at that, over a considerable stretch of time, 
bringing them finally to their present form and length. 

The twenty-four books of the "Odyssey" fall naturally into 
six groups of four (though these are not to be regarded as in- 
volving breaks in the structure), and a short account of each 
of these groups will serve as a guide to the contents of the poem. 
The first four books are occupied with the adventures of Telem- 
achus, the son of Odysseus, (i) When the poem opens, it is 
the tenth year since the fall of Troy, and Odysseus has not 
yet returned to his home in the island of Ithaca, but is detained 
in Ogygia, an island in the west, by the nymph Calypso. Mean- 
time, at home, his wife Penelope is beset by suitors who feast 
riotously in the house of the absent warrior, (ii) Failing in an 
attempt to get the Ithacans to help him to assert his rights, 
Telemachus sets out for Pylus under the guidance of the god- 
dess Athene, who is disguised as Mentor, a friendly chief. 
(Hi) Nestor, the aged king of Pylus, receives them hospitably ; 
and while he is banqueting his guests the supposed Mentor 
vanishes and it is recognised that he was the guardian goddess 
of the family of Odysseus. From Pylus, Telemachus sets out 
for Sparta, accompanied by the son of Nestor, Peisistratus. 
(iv) In Sparta they are received by Menelaus and the famous 
Helen, now restored to her husband, and learn that Odysseus 



INTRODUCTION 5 

is in Ogygia. Telemachus decides to return to Ithaca, where 
the suitors are plotting his death. 

The second group treats of the wanderings of Odysseus be- 
tween the island of Calypso and Phaeacia. (v) The gods, per- 
suaded by Athene, send Hermes to order Calypso to let Odys- 
seus go; but at sea his enemy Poseidon, the sea-god, wrecks 
his ship, and he is saved by a veil which the goddess I no gives 
him, which buoys him up till he comes to the land of the 
Phaeacians. (vij While the exhausted hero is sleeping by the 
shore, the princess Nausicaa comes to the river mouth with her 
maidens to wash linen; and after their task they play ball and 
awaken the sleeper, who asks their pity and is directed to the city. 
This scene is one of the most charming in the poem, (vii) Ar- 
rived at the city, Odysseus is received by the king Alcinous, and 
narrates his recent adventiires. (viii) The Phaeacians are called 
together, and oifer the wanderer a ship to carry him to Ithaca; 
games and a feast are held; and at the feast the blind Demodo- 
cus sings of the siege of Troy and draws tears from Odysseus, 
who is persuaded to tell of his wanderings since leaving Troy. 

In the third group the narrative is retrospective, (ix) Odys- 
seus tells of his visits to the Cicones, to the Lotus-eaters, and 
to the country of the Cyclopes, where he blinded the one-eyed 
Polyphemus; (x) of his adventures with Aeolus, god of the 
winds, with the Laestrygonians, and with Circe, the sorceress; 
(xi) of his descent into Hades, and his conversing with the 
spirits of the dead; (xii) of his escape from the Sirens, and 
from Scylla and Charybdis, and of the eating by his comrades 
of the sacred kine of the sun, which caused them to perish and 
left him alone on Calypso's isle. 

The main narrative is resumed in the fourth group, (xiii) 
The Phaeacians conduct the wanderer to his kingdom, but are 
punished by Poseidon, who turns their ship to stone. In Ithaca 
Athene disguises Odysseus as an old beggar,' and directs him as 
to how to destroy the suitors, (xiv) He finds his old swine-herd 
Eumaeus, who fails to recognize him, and (xv) in the hut meets 
Telemachus, (xvQ to whom he reveals himself and his plans. 

The fifth group deals with the return of Odysseus to his 
palace, (xvii) Telemachus goes home first, but does not tell 
Penelope of her husband's return. The supposed beggar enters 
and is recognised by his old dog Argos, who gives him welcome 



6 INTRODUCTION 

and dies* (xviii) In the midst of the revelry of the suitors 
Odysseus has a fight with Irus, a beggar supported by their alms, 
(xix) Penelope, conversing with her lord, fails to recognize 
him, hut tells him how she has baffled the suitors by the device 
of postponing her choice among them till the completion of a 
web woven by day and undone by night. The old nurse, Eurycleia, 
washes her master's feet and knows him by a scar, hut is told 
to keep the secret, (xx) Athene comforts the hero by night; 
and the suitors are warned of their impending doom by a seer. 

In the last group the denouement is reached, (xxi) Penelope 
proposes that the suitors should show their skill with the bow 
of her husband; and when all fail even to bend it, the disguised 
hero strings it easily and shoots an arrow through twelve axe- 
heads, (xxii) The disguise is now cast off; Odysseus, Telem- 
achus, and two faithful adherents turn on the suitors and slay 
them; and the unfaithful servants are hanged, (xxiii) from the 
nurse Penelope hears the news, welcomes her lord home, and 
learns of his wanderings. Odysseus goes out to a farm to visit 
his father Laertes, (xxiv) Hermes leads the shades of the 
suitors to Hades; while Odysseus makes himself known to his 
father; and later is reconciled to his subjects. 

The "Iliad" and the "Odyssey" stand at the head of the liter-' 
ature of Greece and of the epic poetry of the world; and their 
influence in the country of their origin and throughout the 
European peoples has been commensurate with their artistic 
greatness. Historically, they give the earliest picture of Aryan 
civilization, describing a period of culture of which we should 
otherwise know almost nothing. Artistically, in spite of their 
early date, they are the product of a mature art, expressing with 
supreme nobility and grace permanent and varied yet simple 
types of human nature^ in a language unsurpassed for its com- 
bination of directness, simplicity, and beauty. "The capital dis- 
tinction of Homeric poetry," says Jebb, "is that it has all the 
freshness and simplicity of a primitive age, — all the charm which 
we associate with the ^childhood of the world' ; while on the 
other hand it has completely surmounted the rudeness of form, 
the struggle of thought with language, the tendency to gro- 
tesque or ignoble modes of speech, the incapacity for equable 
maintenance of a high level, which belong to the primitive stage 
in literature" 



AS ONE THAT FOR A WEARY SPACE HAS LAIN 

LULLED BY THE SONG OF CIRCE AND HER WINE 
'm GARDENS NEAR THE PALE OP PROSERPINE, 
WHERE THAT AEAEAN ISLE FORGETS THE MAIN, 
AND ONLY THE LOW LUTES OF LOVE COMPLAIN, 
AND ONLY SHADOWS OP WAN LOVERS PINE, 
AS SUCH AN ONE WERE GLAD TO KNOW THE BRINE 
SALT ON HIS LIPS, AND THE LARGE AIR AGAIN, 
SO GLADLY, FROM THE SONGS OP MODERN SPEECH 

MEN TURN, AND SEE THE STARS, AND FEEL THE FREE 
SHRILL WIND BEYOND THE CLOSE OF HEAVY FLOWERS 
AND THROUGH THE MUSIC OF THE LANGUID HOURS, 
THEY HEAR LIKE OCEAN ON A V/ESTERN BEACH 
THE SURGE AND THUNDER OP THE ODYSSEY. 

A- h. 




THE ODYSSEY 



BOOK I 

In a Council of the Gods, Poseidon absent, Pallas procureth aa 
order for the restitution of Odysseus ; and appearing to his son 
Telemachus, in human shape, adviseth him to complain of the Wooers 
before the Council of the people, and then go to Pylos and Sparta 
to inquire about his father. 

I ELL me. Muse, of that man, so ready at need, who 
wandered far and wide, after he had sacked the 
sacred citadel of Troy, and many were the men 
whose towns he saw and whose mind he learnt, yea, and 
many the woes he suffered in his heart upon the deep, striv- 
ing to win his own life and the return of his com.pany. Nay, 
but even so he saved not his company, though he desired it 
sore. For through the blindness of their own hearts they 
perished, fools, who devoured the oxen of Helios Hyperion: 
but the god took from them their day of returning. Of these 
things, goddess, daughter of Zeus, whencesoever thou hast 
heard thereof, declare thou even unto us. 

Now all the rest, as many as fled from sheer destruction, 
were at home, and had escaped both war and sea, but 
Odysseus only, craving for his wife and for his homeward 
path, the lady nymph Calypso held, that fair goddess, in her 
hollow caves, longing to have him for her lord. But when 
now the year had come in the courses of the seasons, 
wherein the gods had ordained that he should return home 
to Ithaca, not even there was he quit of labours, not even 
among his own; but all the gods had pity on him save 
Poseidon, v.^ho raged continually against godlike Odysseus, 
till he came to his own country. Howbeit Poseidon had now 
departed for the distant Ethiopians, the Ethiopians that are 
sundered in twain, the uttermost of men, abiding some where 



10 HOMER 

Hyperion sinks and some where he rises. There he looked 
to receive his hecatomb of bulls and rams, there he made 
merry sitting at the feast, but the other gods were gath- 
ered in the halls of Olympian Zeus. Then among them the 
father of gods and men began to speak, for he bethought 
him in his heart of noble Aegisthus, whom the son of Aga- 
memnon, far-famed Orestes, slew. Thinking upon him he 
spake out among the Immortals: 

' Lo you now, how vainly mortal men do blame the gods ! 
For of us they say comes evil, whereas they even of them- 
selves, through the blindness of their own hearts, have 
sorrows beyond that which is ordained. Even as of late 
Aegisthus, beyond that which was ordained, took to him the 
wedded wife of the son of Atreus, and killed her lord on his 
return, and that with sheer doom before his eyes, since we 
had warned him by the embassy of Hermes the keen- 
sighted, the slayer of Argos, that he should neither kill the 
man, nor woo his wife. For the son of Atreus shall be 
avenged at the hand of Orestes, so soon as he shall come 
to man's estate and long for his own country. So spake 
Hermes, yet he prevailed not on the heart of Aegisthus, for 
all his good will ; but now hath he paid one price for all.' 

And the goddess, grey-eyed Athene, answered him, say- 
ing : ^ O father, our father Cronides, throned in the highest ; 
that man assuredly lies in a death that is his due; so perish 
likewise all who work such deeds ! But my heart is rent for 
wise Odysseus, the hapless one, who far from his friends 
this long while suffereth affliction in a seagirt isle, where is 
the navel of the sea, a woodland isle, and therein a goddess 
hath her habitation, the daughter of the wizard Atlas, 
who knows the depths of every sea, and himself upholds the 
tall pillars which keep earth and sky asunder. His daughter 
it is that holds the hapless man in sorrow: and ever with 
soft and guileful tales she is wooing him to forgetfulness of 
Ithaca. But Odysseus yearning to see if it w^ere but the 
smoke leap upwards from his own land, hath a desire to die. 
As for thee, thine heart regardeth it not at all, Olympian! 
What! did not Odysseus by the ships of the Argives make 
thee free offering of sacrifice in the wide Trojan land? 
Wherefore v^ast thou then so wroth with him, O Zeus?.' 



THE ODYSSET 11 

And Zeus the cloud-gatherer answered her, and said, ' My 
child, what word hath escaped the door of thy lips? Yea, 
how should I forget divine Odysseus, who in understanding 
is beyond mortals and beyond all men hath done sacrifice 
to the deathless gods, who keep the wide heaven? Nay, but 
it is Poseidon, the girdler of the earth, that hath been wroth 
continually with quenchless anger for the Cyclops' sake 
whom he blinded of his eye, even godlike Polyphemus whose 
power is mightiest amongst all the Cyclopes. His mother 
was the nymph Thoosa, daughter of Phorcys, lord of the 
unharvested sea, and in the hollow caves she lay with 
Poseidon. From that day forth Poseidon the earth-shaker 
doth not indeed slay Odysseus, but driveth him wandering 
from his own country. But come, let us here one and all 
take good counsel as touching his returning, that he may be got 
Tiome ; so shall Poseidon let go his displeasure, for he will in 
no wise be able to strive alone against all, in despite of all 
the deathless gods.' 

Then the goddess, grey-eyed Athene, answered him, and 
said : ' O father, our father Cronides, throned in the highest, 
if indeed this thing is now well pleasing to the blessed gods, 
that wise Odysseus should return to his own home, let us 
then speed Hermes the Messenger, the slayer of Argos, to 
the island of Ogygia. There with all speed let him declare 
to the lady of the braided tresses our unerring counsel, even 
the return of the patient Odysseus, that so he may come to 
his home. But as for me I will go to Ithaca that I may 
rouse his son yet the more, planting might in his heart, to 
call an assembly of the long-haired Achaeans and speak 
out to ail the wooers who slaughter continually the sheep 
of his thronging flocks, and his kine with trailing feet and 
shambling gait. And I will guide him to Sparta and to 
sandy Pylos to seek tidings of his dear father's return, if 
peradventure he may hear thereof and that so he may be had 
in good report among men.' 

She spake and bound beneath her feet her lovely golden 
sandals that wax not old, and bare her alike over the wet sea 
and over the limitless land, swift as the breath of the wind. 
And she seized her doughty spear, shod v/ith sharp bronze, 
weighty and huge and strong, wherewith she quells the 



12 HOMER 

ranks of heroes with whomsoever she is wroth, the daugh- 
ter of the mighty sire. Then from the heights of Olympus 
she came glancing down, and she stood in the land of Ithaca, 
at the entry of the gate of Odysseus, on the threshold of the 
courtyard, holding in her hand the spear of bronze, in 
the semblance of a stranger, Mentes the captain of the 
Taphians. And there she found the lordly wooers: now 
they were taking their pleasure at draughts in front of the 
doors, sitting on hides of oxen, which themselves had slain. 
And of the henchmen and the ready squires, some were 
mixing for them wine and water in bowls, and some again 
were washing the tables with porous sponges and were 
setting them forth, and others were carving flesh in plenty. 

And godlike Telemachus was far the first to descry her, 
for he was sitting with a heavy heart among the wooers 
dreaming on his good father, if haply he might come 
somewhence, and make a scattering of the wooers there 
throughout the palace, and himself get honour and bear rule 
among his own possessions. Thinking thereupon, as he sat 
among wooers, he saw Athene — and he went straight to the 
outer porch, for he thought it blame in his heart that a 
stranger should stand long at the gates: and halting nigh 
her he clasped her right hand and took from her the spear 
of bronze, and uttered his voice and spake unto her winged 
words : 'Hail, stranger, with us thou shalt be kindly entreated, 
and thereafter, when thou hast tasted meat, thou shalt tell 
us that whereof thou hast need.' 

Therewith he led the way, and Pallas Athene followed. 
And when they were now within the lofty house, he set her 
spear that he bore against a tall pillar, within the polished 
spear-stand, where stood many spears besides, even those 
of Odysseus of the hardy heart; and he led the goddess and 
seated her on a goodly carven chair, and spread a linen cloth 
thereunder, and beneath was a footstool for the feet. For 
himself he placed an inlaid seat hard by, apart from the 
company of the vv^ooers, lest the stranger should be dis- 
quieted by the noise and should have a loathing for the 
meal, being come among overweening men, and also that he 
might ask him about his father that was gone from his 
home. 



THE ODYSSEY 13 

Then a handmaid bare water for the washing of hands in 
a goodly golden ewer, and poured it forth over a silver basin 
to wash withal, and drew to their side a polished table. 
And a grave dame bare wheaten bread and set it by them, 
and laid on the board many dainties, giving freely of such 
things as she had by her. And a carver lifted and placed 
by them platters of divers kinds of flesh, and nigh them he 
set golden bowls, and a henchman walked to and fro pour- 
ing out to them the wine. 

Then in came the lordly wooers; and they sat them down 
in rows on chairs and on high seats, and henchmen poured 
water on their hands, and maidservants piled wheaten bread 
by them in baskets, and pages crowned the bowls with drink ; 
and they stretched forth their hands upon the good cheer 
spread before them. Now when the wooers had put from 
them the desire of meat and drink, they minded them of 
other things, even of the song and dance: for these are the 
crown of the feast. And a henchman placed a beauteous 
lyre in the hands of Phemius, who was minstrel to the 
wooers despite his will. Yea and as he touched the lyre 
he lifted up his voice in sv/eet song.^ 

But Telemachus spake unto grey-eyed Athene, holding his 
head close to her that those others might not hear : ' Dear 
stranger, wilt thou of a truth be wroth at the w^ord that I 
shall say ? Yonder m.en verily care for such things as these, 
the lyre and song, lightly, as they that devour the livelihood 
of another without atonement, of that man whose white 
bones, it may be, lie wasting in the rain upon the 
mainland, or the billow rolls them in the brine. Were but 
these men to see him returned to Ithaca, they all 
would pray rather for greater speed of foot than for 
gain of gold and raiment. But now he hath perished, 
even so, an evil doom, and for us is no comfort, no, 
not though any of earthly men should say that he will 
come again. Gone is the day of his returning! But 
come declare me this, and tell me all plainly: Who art thou 
of the sons of m.en, and vv^hence? Where is thy city, where 
are they that begat thee? Say, on what manner of ship 

I Or, according to the ordinary interpretation o£ ave^aXKero : So be 
touched the chords in prelude to his sweet singing. 



U HOMER 

didst thou come, and how did sailors bring thee to Ithaca, 
and who did they avow themselves to be, for in nowise do 
I deem that thou earnest hither by land. And herein tell 
me true, that I may know for a surety whether thou art a 
newcomer, or whether thou art a guest of the house, seeing 
that many were the strangers that came to our home, for 
that he too had voyaged much among m.en.' 

Then the goddess, grey-eyed Athene, answered him : ' Yea 
now, I will plainly tell thee all. I avow me to be Mentes, 
son of wise Anchialus, and I bear rule among the Taphians, 
lovers of the oar. And now am I come to shore, as thou 
seest, with ship and crew, sailing over the wine-dark sea, 
unto men of strange speech, even to Temesa,^ in quest of 
copper, and my cargo is shining iron. And there my ship 
is lying toward the upland, away from the city, in the har- 
bour of Rheithron beneath wooded Neion: and we declare 
ourselves to be friends one of the other, and of houses 
friendly, from of old. Nay, if thou wouldest be assured, go 
ask the old man, the hero Laertes, who they say no more 
comes to the city, but far away toward the upland suffers 
affliction, with an ancient woman for his handmaid, who sets 
by him meat and drink, whensoever weariness takes hold of 
his limbs, as he creeps along the knoll of his vineyard plot. 
And now am I come ; for verily they said that he^ thy father, 
was among his people; but lo, the gods withhold him from 
his way. For goodly Odysseus hath not yet perished on the 
earth; but still, methinks, he lives and is kept on the wide 
deep in a seagirt isle, and hard men constrain him, wild 
folk that hold him, it may be, sore against his will. But now 
of a truth will I utter my word of prophecy, as the Immor- 
tals bring it into my heart and as I deem it will be accom- 
plished, though no soothsayer am I, nor skilled in the signs 
of birds. Henceforth indeed for no long while shall he be 
far from his own dear country, not though bonds of iron 
bind him; he will advise him of a way to return, for he is a 
man of many devices. But come, declare me this, and tell 
me all plainly, whether indeed, so tall as thou art, thou art 
sprung from the loins of Odysseus. Thy head surely and 
thy beauteous eyes are wondrous like to his, since full many 
? Taujasja, in the mountainous centre of Cyprus.; 



THE ODYSSEY 15 

a time have we held converse together ere he embarked for 
Troy, whither the others, aye the bravest of the Argives, 
went in hollow ships. From that day forth neither have I 
seen Odysseus nor he me.' 

Then yAsq Telemachus answered her, and said : ' Yea, sir, 
now will I plainly tell thee all. My mother verily saith 
that I am his; for myself I know not, for never man yet 
knew of himself his own descent. O that I had been the 
son of some blessed man, whom old age overtook among 
his own possessions ! But now of him that is the most hap- 
less of mortal men, his son they say that I am, since thou 
dost question me hereof.' 

Then the goddess, grey-eyed Athene, spake unto him, and 
said : ' Surely ^no nameless lineage have the gods ordained 
ifor thee in days to come, since Penelope bore thee so goodly 
a man. But come, declare me this, and tell it all plainly. 
What feast, nay, vs^hat rout is this? V/hat hast thou to do 
therewith? Is it a clan drinking, or a wedding feast, for 
here we have no banquet where each man brings his share ? 
In such wise, flown with insolence, do they seem to me to 
revel wantonly through the house : and well might any man 
be wroth to see so many deeds of shame, whatso wise man 
came among them.' 

Then wise Telemachus answered her, and said : ' Sir, for- 
asmuch as thou questionest me of these things and inquirest 
thereof, our house was once like to have been rich and hon- 
ourable, while yet that man was among his people. But now 
the gods willed it otherwise, in evil purpose, who have made 
him pass utterly out of sight as no man ever before. Truly 
I would not even for his death make so great sorrow, had 
he fallen am.ong his fellows in the land of the Trojans, or 
in the arms of his friends when he had wound up the clew 
of war. Then would the whole Achaean host have builded 
him a barrow, and even for his son would he have won great 
glory in the after days. But now the spirits of the storm 
have swept him away inglorious. He is gone, lost to sight 
and hearsay, but for me hath he left anguish and lamenta- 
tion; nor henceforth is it for him alone that I mourn and 
weep, since the gods have wrought for me other sore dis- 
tress. For all the noblest that are princes in the isles, in 



16 HOMER 

Dulichium and Same and wooded Zacynthus, and as many 
as lord it in rocky Ithaca, all these woo my mother and 
waste my house. But as for her she neither refuseth the 
hated bridal, nor hath the heart to make an end: so they 
devour and minish my house, and ere long will they make 
havoc likewise of myself.' 

Then in heavy displeasure spake unto him Pallas Athene: 
'God help thee! thou art surely sore in need of Odysseus 
that is afar, to stretcl;i forth his hands upon the shameless 
wooers. If he could but come now and stand at the enter- 
ing in of the gate, with helmet and shield and lances twain, 
as mighty a man as when first I marked him in our house 
drinking and making merry what time he came up out of 
Ephyra from Ilus son of Mermerus ! For even thither had 
Odysseus gone on his swift ship to seek a deadly drug, that 
he might have wherewithal to smear his bronze-shod ar- 
rows: but Ilus would in nowise give it him, for he had in 
awe the everliving gods. But my father gave it him, f0r he 
bare him wondrous love. O that Odysseus might in such 
strength consort with the wooers : so should they all have 
swift fate and bitter wedlock ! Howbeit these things surely 
lie on the knees of the gods, whether he shall return or not, 
and take vengeance In his halls. But I charge thee to take 
counsel how thou mayest thrust forth the wooers from the 
hall. Come now, mark and take heed unto my words. On 
the morrow call the Achaean lords to the assembly, and 
declare thy saying to all, and take the gods to witness. As 
for the wooers bid them scatter them each one to his own, 
and for thy m.other, if her heart is moved to marriage, let 
her go back to the hall of that mighty man her father, and 
her kinsfolk will furnish a v/edding feast, and array the 
gifts of wooing exceeding m.any, all that should go back 
with a daughter dearly beloved. And to thyself I will give 
a word of wise counsel, if perchance thou wilt hearken. Fit 
out a ship, the best thou hast, with twenty oarsmen, and go 
to inquire concerning thy father that is long afar, if per- 
chance any man shall tell thee aught, or if thou mayest hear 
the voice from Zeus, which chiefly brings tidings to men. Get 
thee first to Pylos and inquire of goodly Nestor, and from 
thence to Sparta to Menelaus of the fair hair, for he came 



THE ODYSSEY 17 

home the last of the mail-coated Achaeans. If thou shalt 
hear news of the life and the returning of thy father, then 
verily thou mayest endure the wasting for yet a year. But 
if thou shalt hear that he is dead and gone, return then to 
thine own dear country and pile his mound, and over it pay 
burial rites, full many as is due, and give thy mother to a 
husband. But when thou hast done this and made an end, 
thereafter take counsel in thy mind and heart, how thou 
mayest slay the wooers in thy halls, whether by guile or 
openly; for thou shouldst not carry childish thoughts, being 
no longer of years thereto. Or hast thou not heard what re- 
nown the goodly Orestes gat him among all men in that he 
slew the slayer of his father, guileful Aegisthus, who killed 
his famous sire ? And thou, too, my friend, for I see that thou 
art very comely and tall, be valiant, that even men unborn 
may praise thee. But I will now go down to the swift ship and 
to my men, who methinks chafe much at tarrying for me; 
and do thou thyself take heed and give ear unto my words/ 

Then wise Telemachus answered her, saying : * Sir, verily 
thou speakest these things out of a friendly heart, as a 
father to his son, and never will I forget them. But now I 
pray thee abide here, though eager to be gone, to the end 
that after thou hast bathed and had all thy heart's desire, 
thou mayest wend to the ship joyful in spirit, with a costly 
gift and very goodly, to be an heirloom of my giving, such 
as dear friends give to friends.' 

Then the goddess, grey-eyed Athene, answered him: 
* Hold me now no longer, that am eager for the way. But 
whatsoever gift thine heart shall bid thee give me, when I 
am on my way back let it be mine to carry home : bear from 
thy stores a gift right goodly, and it shall bring thee the 
worth thereof in return.' 

So spake she and departed, the grey-eyed Athene, and like 
an eagle of the sea she flew away, but in his spirit she planted 
might and courage, and put him in mind of his father yet 
more than heretofore. And he marked the thing and was 
amazed, for he deemed that it was a god; and anon he went 
among the wooers, a godlike man. 

Now the renowned minstrel was singing to the wooers, 
and they sat listening in silence; and his song was of the 



12 HOMER 

pitiful return of the Achaeans, that Pallas Athene laid on 
them as they came forth from Tro3^ And from her upper 
chamber the daughter of Icarius, wise Penelope, caught the 
! glorious strain, and she went down the high stairs from her 
chamber, not alone, for two of her handmaids bare her com- 
pany. Now when the fair lady had come unto the wooers, 
she stood by the pillar of the well-builded roof holding up 
her gUstening tire before her face; and a faithful maiden 
stood on either side her. Then she fell a weeping, and 
spake unto the divine minstrel: 

' Phemius, since thou knowest many other charms for mor- 
tals, deeds of men and gods, which bards rehearse, some one 
of these do thou sing as thou sittest by them, and let them 
drink their wine in silence ; but cease from this pitiful strain, 
that ever wastes my heart within my breast, since to me above 
all women hath come a sorrow comfortless. So dear a head 
do I long for in constant memory, namely, that man whose 
fame is noised abroad from Hellas to mid Argos.' 

Then wise Telemachus answered her, and said : * O my 
mother, why then dost thou grudge the sweet minstrel to 
gladden us as his spirit moves him ? It is not minstrels who 
are in fault, but Zeus, methinks, is in fault, who gives to 
men, that live by bread, to each one as he will. As for him 
it is no blame if he sings the ill-faring of the Danaans ; for 
men always prize that song the most, which rings newest in 
their ears. But let thy heart and mind endure to listen, for 
not Odysseus only lost in Troy the day of his returning, but 
many another likewise perished. Howbeit go to thy cham- 
ber and mind thine own housewiferies, the loom and distaff, 
and bid thy handmaids ply their tasks. But speech shall be 
for men, for all, but for me in chief; for mine is the lord- 
ship in the house.' 

Then in amaze she went back to her chamber, for she laid 
up the wise saying of her son in her heart. She ascended 
to her upper chamber with the women her handmaids, and 
then was bewailing Odysseus, her dear lord, till grey-eyed 
Athene cast sweet sleep upon her eyelids. 

Now the wooers clamoured throughout the shadowy halls, 
and each one uttered a prayer to be her bedfellow. And 
wise Telemachus first spake among them; 



THE ODYSSEY 19 

'Wooers of my mother, men despiteful out of measure, 
let us feast now and make merry and let there be no brawl- 
ing; for, lo, it is a good thing to list to a minstrel such as 
him, like to the gods in voice. But in the morning let us 
all go to the assembly and sit us down, that I may declare 
my saying outright, to wit that ye leave these halls: and 
busy yourselves with other feasts, eating your own sub- 
stance, going in turn from house to house. But if ye deem 
this a likelier and a better thing, that one man's goods 
should perish without atonement, then waste ye as ye will; 
and I will call upon the everlasting gods, if haply Zeus may 
grant that acts of recompense be made: so should ye here- 
after perish within the halls without atonement.' 

So spake he, and all that heard him bit their lips and mar- 
velled at Telemachus, in that he spake boldly. 

Then Antinous, son of Eupeithes, answered him: *Telem- 
achus, in very truth the gods themselves instruct thee to be 
proud of speech and boldly to harangue. Never may 
Cronion make thee king in seagirt Ithaca, which thing is of 
inheritance thy right ! ' 

Then wise Telemachus answered him, and said: 'Antin- 
ous, wilt thou indeed be wroth at the word that I shall say ? 
Yea, at the hand of Zeus wouM I be fain to take even this 
thing upon me. Sayest thou that this is the worst hap that 
can bef al a man ? Nay, verily, it is no ill thing to be a king : 
the house of such an one quickly waxeth rich and himself is 
held in greater honour. Howsoever there are many other 
kings of the Achaeans in seagirt Ithaca, kings young and 
old; someone of them shall surely have this kingship since 
goodly Odysseus is dead. But as for me, I v/ill be lord of 
our own house and thralls, that goodly Odysseus gat me 
with his spear.' 

Then Eurymachus, son of Polybus, answered him, saying: 
' Telemachus, on the knees of the gods it surely lies, what 
man is to be king over the Achaeans in seagirt Ithaca, But 
mayest thou keep thine own possessions and be lord in thine 
own house! Never may that man come, who shall v^rrest 
from thee thy substance violently in thine own despite 
while Ithaca yet stands. But I would ask thee, friend, con- 
cerning the stranger— whence he is, and of what land he 



2b HOMER 

avows him to be? Where are his kin and his native fields? 
Doth he bear some tidings of thy father on his road, or 
Cometh he thus to speed some matter of his own? In such 
wise did he start up, and lo, he was gone, nor tarried he 
that we should know him ; — and yet he seemed no mean man 
to look upon.'^ 

Then wise Telemachus answered him, and said : ' Eurym- 
achus, surely the day of my father's returning hath gone 
by. Therefore no more do I put faith in tidings, whence- 
soever they may come, neither have I regard unto any 
divination, whereof my mother may inquire at the lips of a 
diviner, when she hath bidden him to the hall.- But as for 
that man, he is a friend of my house from Taphos, and he 
avows him to be Mentes, son of wise Anchialus, and he 
hath lordship among the Taphians, lovers of the oar/ 

So spake Telemachus, but in his heart he knew the death- 
less goddess. Now the wooers turned them to the dance 
and the delightsome song, and made merry, and waited till 
evening should come on. And as they made merry, dusk 
evening came upon them. Then they went each one to his 
own house to lie down to rest. 

But Telemachus, where his chamber was builded high up 
in the fair court, in a place with wide prospect, thither be- 
took him to his bed, pondering many thoughts in his mind; 
and with him went trusty Eurycleia, and bare for him 
torches burning. She was the daughter of Ops, son of 
Peisenor, and Laertes bought her on a time with his wealth, 
while as yet she was in her first youth, and gave for her the 
worth of twenty oxen. And he honoured her even as he 
honoured his dear wife in the halls, but he never lay with 
her, for he shunned the wrath of his lady. She went with 
Telemachus and bare for him the burning torches: and of 
all the women of the household she loved him most, and she 
had nursed him when a little one. Then he opened the doors 
of the well-builded chamber and sat him on the bed and took 
off his soft doublet, and put it in the wise old woman's hands. 
So she folded the doublet and smoothed it, and hung it on 
a pin by the jointed bedstead, and went forth on her 

3 The yap explains the expression of surprise at the sudden departure of 
the stranger. 



THE ODYSSEY 21 

way from the room, and pulled to the door with the silver 
handle, and drew home the bar with the thong. There, 
all night through, wrapped in a fleece of wool, he medi- 
tated in his heart upon the journey that Athene had 
showed him. 




BOOK 11 

TelemaelitiS complains In vain, and borrowing a slilp, goes secfetiy 
to Pylos by night. And how he was there received. 

'OW so soon as early Dawn shone forth, the rosy-fin- 
gered, the dear son of Odysseus gat him up from 
his bed, and put on his raiment and cast his sharp 
sword about his shoulder, and beneath his smooth feet he 
bound his goodly sandals, and stept forth from his chamber 
in presence like a god. And straightway he bade the clear- 
voiced heralds to call the long-haired Achaeans to the assem- 
bly. And the heralds called the gathering, and the Achaeans 
were assembled quickly. Now when they were gathered and 
come together, he went on his way to the assembly holding 
in his hand a spear of bronze, — not alone he went, for two 
swift hounds bare him company. Then Athene shed on him 
a wondrous grace, and all the people marvelled at him as he 
came. And he sat him in his father's seat and the elders 
gave place to him. 

Then the lord Aegyptus spake among them first; bowed 
was he with age, and skilled in things past number. Now for 
this reason he spake that his dear son, the warrior Antiphus, 
had gone in the hollow ships to Ilios of the goodly steeds; 
but the savage Cyclops slew him in his hollow cave, and 
made of him then his latest meal. Three other sons Aegyp- 
tus had, and one consorted with the wooers, namely Euryno- 
mus, but two continued in their father's fields; yet even so 
forgat he not that son, still mourning and sorrowing. So 
weeping for his sake he made harangue and spake among 
them: 

* Hearken now to me, ye men of Ithaca, to the word that 
I shall say. Never hath our assembly or session been since 
the day that goodly Odysseus departed in the hollow ships. 
And now who 5vas minded thus to assemble us? On what 

23 



THE ODYSSEY 23 

man hath such sore need come, of the young men or of the 
elder born? Hath he heard some tidings of the host now 
returning, which he might plainly declare to us, for that he 
first learned thereof, or doth he show forth and tell some 
other matter of the common weal? Methinks he is a true 
man — good luck be with him! Zeus vouchsafe him some 
good thing in his turn, even all his heart's desire ! ' 

So spake he, and the dear son of Odysseus was glad at 
the omen of the word; nor sat he now much longer, but he 
burned to speak, and he stood in mid assembly; and the 
herald Peisenor, skilled in sage counsels, placed the staff 
in his hands. Then he spake, accosting the old man first : 

' Old man, he is not far off, and soon shalt thou know 
it for thyself, he who called the folk together, even I: for 
sorrow hath come to me in chief. Neither have I heard 
any tidings of the host now returning, which I may plainly 
declare to you, for that I first learned thereof; neither do 
I show forth or tell any other matter of the common weal, 
but mine own need, for that evil hath befallen my house, 
a double woe. First, I have lost my noble sire, who some- 
time was king among you here, and was gentle as a father; 
and now is there an evil yet greater far, v/hich surely shall 
soon make grievous havoc of my whole house and ruin 
all my livelihood. My mother did certain wooers beset sore 
against her will, even the sons of those men that here are 
the noblest. They are too craven to go to the house of 
her father Icarius, that he m.ay himself set the bride- 
price for his daughter, and bestow her on whom he will, 
even on him who finds favour in his sight. But they 
resorting to our house day by day sacrifice oxen and sheep 
and fat goats, and keep revel, and drink the dark wine 
recklessly, and lo, our great wealth is wasted, for there is no 
man now alive such as Odysseus was, to keep ruin from the 
house. As for me I am nov/ise strong like him to ward mine 
own; verily to the end of my days^ shall I be a weakling 
and all unskilled in prowess. Truly I would defend me if 
but strength were mine; for deeds past sufferance have now 
been wrought, and now my house is wasted utterly beyond 

1 Cf. B. xxi. 131. For the use o£ the ist pars. pi. like our royal plural* 
cf. B. xvi. 44, II. vii, 190. 



24 HOMER 

pretence of right. Resent it in your own hearts, and have 
regard to your neighbours who dwell around, and tremble 
ye at the anger of the gods, lest haply they turn upon you 
in wrath at your evil deeds.^ I pray you by Olympian Zeus 
and by Themis, who looseth and gathereth the meetings of 
men, let be, my friends, and leave me alone to waste in bitter 
grief ; — unless it so be that my father, the good Odysseus, out 
of evil heart wrought harm to the goodly-greaved Achaeans, 
in quittance whereof ye now work me harm out of evil hearts, 
and spur on these men. Better for me that ye yourselves 
should eat up my treasures and my flocks. Were ye so 
to devour them, ere long would some recompense be made, 
for we would urge our plea throughout the town, begging 
back our substance, until all should be restored. But now 
without remedy are the pains that ye lay up in my heart.' 

So spake he in wrath, and dashed the staff to the ground, 
and brake forth in tears; and pity fell on all the people. 
Then all the others held their peace, and none had the 
heart to answer Telemachus with hard words, but Antinous 
alone made answer, saying : 

* Telemachus, proud of speech and unrestrained in fury, 
what is this thou hast said to put us to shame, and v/ouldest 
fasten on us reproach? Behold the fault is not in the 
Achaean wooers, but in thine own mother, for she is the 
craftiest of women. For it is now the third year, and the 
fourth is fast going by, since she began to deceive the m.inds 
of the Achaeans in their breasts. She gives hope to all, and 
makes promises to every man, and sends them messages, but 
her mind is set on other things. And she hath devised in 
her heart this wile besides; she set up in her halls a mighty 
web, fine of woof and very wide, whereat she would weave, 
and anon she spake among us : 

* " Ye princely youths, my wooers, now that the goodly 
Odysseus is dead, do ye abide patiently, how eager soever 
to speed on this marriage of mine, till I finish the robe. 
I would not that the threads perish to no avail, even this 
shroud for the hero Laertes, against the day when the ruinous 
doom shall bring him low, of death that lays men at their 
length. So shall none of the Achaean women in the land 
2 Or, lest they bring your evil deeds in wrath on your own heads. 



THE ODYSSEY 25 

count it blame in me, as well might be, were he to lie without 
a winding-sheet, a man that had gotten great possessions." 

* So spake she, and our high hearts consented thereto. So 
then in the day time she would weave the mighty web, and 
in the night unravel the same, when she had let place the 
torches by her. Thus for the space of three years she hid the 
thing by craft and beguiled the minds of the Achaeans; but 
when the fourth year arrived and the seasons cam^e round, 
then at the last one of her women who knew all declared it, 
and we found her unravelling the splendid web. Thus she 
finished it perforce and sore against her will. But as for thee, 
the wooers make thee answer thus, that thou mayest know 
it in thine ovm heart, thou and all the Achaeans! Send 
away thy mother, and bid her be married to whomsoever her 
father commands, and whoso is well pleasing unto her. But 
if she will continue for long to vex the sons of the Achaeans, 
pondering in her heart those things that Athene hath given 
her beyond women, knowledge of all fair handiwork, yea, and 
cunning wit, and wiles — so be it! Such wiles as hers we 
have never yet heard that any even of the women of old 
did know, of those that aforetime were fair-tressed Achaean 
ladies. Tyro, and Alcmene, and Mycene, with the bright 
crown. Not one of these in the imaginations of their 
hearts was like unto Penelope, yet herein at least her 
imagining was not good. For in despite of her the wooers 
will devour thy living and thy substance, so long as she is 
steadfast in such purpose as the gods now put within her 
breast: great renown for herself she winneth, but for thee 
regret for thy much livelihood. But we will neither go to 
our own lands, nor otherwhere, till she marry that man 
whom she will of the Achaeans.' 

Then wise Telemachus answered him, saying: *Antinous, 
I may in no wise thrust forth from the house, against her 
will, the woman that bare me, that reared me: while as 
for my father he is abroad on the earth, whether he be 
alive or dead. Moreover, it is hard for me to make heavy 
restitution to Icarius, as needs I must, if of mine own will I 
send my mother away. For I shall have evil at his hand, at 
the hand of her father, and some god will give me more be- 
sides, for my mother will call down the dire Avengers as she 



26 HOMER 

departs from the house, and I shall have blame of men ; surely 
then I will never speak this word. Nay, if your own heart, 
even yours, is indignant, quit ye my halls, and busy your- 
selves with other feasts, eating your own substance, and going 
in turn from house to house. But if ye deem this a likelier 
and a better thing, that one man's goods should perish with- 
out atonement, then waste ye as ye will: and I will call 
upon the everlasting gods, if haply Zeus may grant that acts 
of recompense be made : so should ye hereafter perish in the 
halls without atonement.' 

So spake Telemachus, and in answer to his prayer did 
Zeus, of the far-borne voice, send forth two eagles in flight, 
from on high, from the mountain-crest. Awhile they flew as 
fleet as the blasts of the wind, side by side, with straining 
of their pinions. But when they had now reached the mid 
assembly, the place of many voices, there they wheeled 
about and flapped their strong wings, and looked down upon 
the heads of all, and destruction was in their gaze. Then tore 
they with their talons each the other's cheeks and neck on 
every side, and so sped to the right across the dwellings and 
the city of the people. And the men marvelled at the birds 
when they had sight of them, and pondered in their hearts the 
things that should come to pass. Yea and the old man, the 
lord Halitherses son of Mastor spake among them, for he 
excelled his peers in knowledge of birds, and in uttering 
words of fate. With good-will he made harangue and spake 
among them: 

' Hearken to me nov/, ye men of Ithaca, to the word that 
I shall say: and mainly to the wooers do I show forth and 
tell these things, seeing that a mighty woe is rolling upon 
them. For Odysseus shall not long be away from his friends, 
nay, even now, it may be, he is near, and sowing the seeds of 
death and fate for these men, every one; and he will be a 
bane to many another likewise of us who dwell in clear-seen 
Ithaca. But long ere that falls out let us advise us how we 
may make an end of their mischief ; yea, let them of their own 
selves make an end, for this is the better way for them, as will 
soon be seen. For I prophesy not as one unproved, but with 
sure knowledge ; verily, I say, that for him all things now are 
come to pass, even as I told him, what time the Argives 



THE ODYSSEY 2f 

embarked for Ilios, and with them went the wise Odysseus. 
I said that after sore affliction, with the loss of all his com- 
pany, unknown to all, in the twentieth year he should come 
home. And behold, all these things now have an end.' 

And Eurymachus, son of Polybus, answered him, saying: 
* Go now, old man, get thee home and prophesy to thine own 
children, lest haply they suffer harm hereafter: but herein 
am I a far better prophet than thou. Hovv^beit there be 
many birds that fly to and fro under the sun's rays, but 
all are not birds of fate. Now as for Odysseus, he hath 
perished far away, as would that thou too with him hadst 
been cut off: so wouldst thou not have babbled thus much 
prophecy, nor wouldst thou hound on Telemachus that is 
already angered, expecting a gift for thy house, if perchance 
he may vouchsafe thee aught. But now will I speak out, 
and my word shall surely be accomplished. If thou that 
knowest much lore from of old, shalt beguile with w^ords a 
younger man, and rouse him to indignation, first it shall be 
a great grief to him: — and yet he can count on no aid from 
these who hear him; — while upon thee, old man, we will 
lay a fine, that thou mayest pay it and chafe at heart, and 
sore pain shall be thine. And I myself will give a word of 
counsel to Telemachus in presence of you all. Let him com- 
mand his mother to return to her father's house; and her 
kinsfolk will furnish a wedding feast, and array the gifts of 
wooing, exceeding many, all that should go back with 
a daughter dearly beloved. For ere that, I trow, we sons of 
the Achaeans will not cease from our rough wooing, since, 
come what may, we fear not any man, no, not Telemachus, 
full of words though he be, nor soothsaying do we heed, 
whereof thou, old man, pratest idly, and art hated yet the 
more. His substance too shall be woefully devoured, nor 
shall recompense ever be made, so long as she shall put off 
the Achaeans in the matter of her marriage; while we in 
expectation, from day to day, vie one with another for the 
prize of her perfection, nor go we after other women whom 
it were meet that we should each one wed.' 

Then wise Telemachus answered him, saying : ' Eurym- 
achus, and ye others, that are lordly wooers, I entreat 
you no more concerning this nor speak thereof,, for the 



28 HOMER 

gods have knowledge of it now and all the Achaeans. But 
come, give me a swift ship and twenty men, who shall accom- 
plish for me my voyage to and fro. For I will go to Sparta 
and to sandy Pylos to inquire concerning the return of my 
father that is long afar, if perchance any man shall tell me 
aught, or if I may hear the voice from Zeus, that chiefly 
brings tidings to men. If I shall hear news of the life and 
the returning of my father, then verily I may endure the 
wasting for yet a year; but if I shall hear that he is dead 
and gone, let me then return to my own dear country, 
and pile his mound, and over it pay burial rites full many 
as is due, and I will give my mother to a husband/ 

So with that word he sat him down; then in the midst 
up rose Mentor, the companion of noble Odysseus. He it 
was to whom Odysseus, as he departed in the fleet, had given 
the charge over all his house, that it should obey the old 
man, and that he should keep all things safe. With good 
will he now made harangue and spake among them : 

* Hearken to me now, ye men of Ithaca, to the word that 
I shall say. Henceforth let not any sceptred king be kind 
and gentle with all his heart, nor minded to do righteously, 
but let him alway be a hard man and work unrighteousness: 
for behold, there is none that remembereth divine Odysseus 
of the people whose lord he was, and was gentle as a father„ 
Howsoever, it is not that I grudge the lordly wooers their 
deeds of violence in the evil devices of their heart. For 
at the hazard of their own heads they violently devour the 
household of Odysseus, and say of him that he will come 
no more again. But I am indeed wroth with the rest of the 
people, to see how ye all sit thus speechless, and do not 
cry shame upon the wooers, and put them down, ye that are 
so many and they so few.' 

And Leocritus, son of Euenor, answered him, saying j 
* Mentor infatuate, with thy wandering wits, what word hast 
thou spoken, that callest upon them to put us down? Nay, 
it is a hard thing to fight about a feast, and that with men 
who are even more in number than you. Though Odysseus 
of Ithaca himself should come and were eager of heart to 
drive forth from the hall the lordly wooers that feast 
throughout his house, yet should his wife have no joy of his 



THE ODYSSEY 29 

coming, though she yearns for him; — ^but even there should 
he meet foul doomj if he fought with those that outnumbered 
him; so thou hast not spoken aright. But as for the people, 
come now, scatter yourselves each one to his own lands, 
but Mentor and Halitherses will speed this man's voyage, 
for they are friends of his house from of old. Yet after 
all, methinks, that long time he will abide and seek tidings 
in Ithaca, and never accomplish this voyage.' 

Thus he spake, and in haste they broke up the assembly. 
So they were scattered each one to his own dwelling, while 
the wooers departed to the house of divine Odysseus. 

Then Telemachus, going far apart to the shore of the sea, 
laved his hands in the grey sea water, and prayed unto 
Athene, saying : * Hear me, thou who yesterday didst come 
in thy godhead to our house, and badest me go in a ship 
across the misty seas, to seek tidings of the return of my 
father that is long gone: but all this my purpose do the 
Achaeans delay, and mainly the wooers in the naughtiness 
of their pride.' 

So spake he in prayer, and Athene drew nigh him in the 
likeness of Mentor, in fashion and in voice, and she spake 
and hailed him in winged words: 

* Telemachus, even hereafter thou shalt not be craven or 
witless, if indeed thou hast a drop of thy father's blood and 
a portion of his spirit; such an one was he to fulfil both vv^ord 
and work. Nor, if this be so, shall thy voyage be vain or 
unfulfilled. But if thou art not the very seed of him and of 
Penelope, then have I no hope that thou wilt accomplish thy 
desire. For few children, truly, are like their father; lo, the 
more part are worse, yet a few are better than the sire. But 
since thou shalt not even hereafter be craven or witless, nor 
hath the wisdom of Odysseus failed thee quite, so is there 
good hope of thine accomplishing this work. Wherefore 
now take no heed of the counsel or the purpose of the 
senseless wooers, for they are in no way wise or just: neither 
know they aught of death and of black fate, v/hich already 
is close upon them, that they are all to perish in one day. 
But the voyage on which thy heart is set shall not long be 
lacking to thee — so faithful a friend of thy father am I, who 
will furnish thee a swift ship and myself be thy companion. 



30 HOMER 

But go thou to the house, and consort with the wooerSj 
and make ready corn, and bestow all in vessels, the wine in 
jars and barley-flour, the marrow of men, in v/ ell-sewn skins; 
and I will lightly gather in the township a crew that offer 
themselves willingly. There are many ships, new and old, 
in seagirt Ithaca; of these I will choose out the best for 
thee, and we will quickly rig her and launch her on the 
broad deep.' 

So spake Athene, daughter of Zeus, and Telemachus made 
no long tarrying, when he had heard the voice of the goddess. 
He went on his way towards the house, heavy at heart, and 
there he found the noble wooers in the halls, flaying goats 
and singeing swine in the court. And Antinous laughed out 
and went straight to Telemachus, and clasped his hand and 
spake and hailed him: 

* Telemachus, proud of speech and unrestrained in fury, let 
no evil word any more be in thy heart, nor evil work, but 
let me see thee eat -and drink as of old. And the Achaeans 
will make thee ready all things without fail, a ship and 
chosen oarsmen, that thou mayest come the quicker to fair 
Pylos, to seek tidings of thy noble father.' 

Then wise Telemachus answered him, saying: * Antinous, 
in no wise in your proud company can I sup in peace, and 
make merry with a quiet mind. Is it a little thing, ye wooers, 
that in time past ye wasted many good things of my getting, 
while as yet I was a child? But now that I am a man 
grown, and learn the story from the lips of others, and my 
spirit waxeth within me, I will seek to let loose upon you 
evil fates, as I may, going either to Pylos for help, or 
abiding here in this township. Yea, I will go, nor vain shall 
the voyage be whereof I speak; a passenger on another's 
ship go I, for I am not to have a ship nor oarsmen of mine 
own ; so in your wisdom ye have thought it for the better.' 

He spake and snatched his hand from out the hand of 
Antinous, lightly, and all the while the wooers were busy 
feasting through the house; and they mocked him and 
sharply taunted him, and thus would some proud youth 
speak : 

' In very truth Telemachus planneth our destruction. He 
will bring a rescue either from sandy Pylos, or even it may 



THE ODYSSEY 31 

be from Sparta, so terribly is he set on slaying us. Or else 
he will go to Ephyra, a fruitful land, to fetch a poisonous 
drug that he may cast it into the bowl and make an end of 
all of us/ 

And again another proud youth would say: *Who knows 
but that he himself if he goes hence on the hollow ship, may 
perish wandering far from his friends, even as Odysseus? 
So should we have yet more ado, for then must we divide 
among us all his substance, and moreover give the house to 
his mother to possess it, and to him whosoever should wed 
her/ 

So spake they; but he stepped down into the vaulted 
treasure-chamber of his father, a spacious room, where gold 
and bronze lay piled, and raiment in coffers, and fragrant 
olive oil in plenty. And there stood casks of sweet wine and 
old, full of the unmixed drink divine, all orderly ranged by 
the wall, ready if ever Odysseus should come home, albeit 
after travail and much pain. And the close-fitted doors, the 
folding doors, were shut, and night and day there abode 
within a dame in charge, who guarded all in the fulness of 
her wisdom, Eurycleia, daughter of Ops son of Peisenor. 
Telemachus now called her into the chamber and spake 
unto her, saying: 

* Mother, come draw off for me sweet wine in jars, the 
choicest next to that thou keepest mindful ever of that ill- 
fated one, Odysseus, of the seed of Zeus, if perchance he 
may come I know not whence, having avoided death and the 
fates. So fill -twelve jars, and close each with his lid, and 
pour me barley-meal into well-sewn skins, and let there be 
twenty measures of the grain of bruised barley-meal. Let 
none know this but thyself ! As for these things let them all 
be got together ; for in the evening I will take them with me, 
at the time that my mother hath gone to her upper chamber 
and turned her thoughts to sleep. Lo, to Sparta I go and 
to sandy Pylos to seek tidings of my dear father's return, 
if haply I may hear thereof.' 

So spake he, and the good nurse Eurycleia wailed aloud, 
and making lament spake to him winged words : *Ah, where- 
fore, dear child, hath such a thought arisen ia thine heart? 
How shouldst thou fare over wide lands, thou that art an 



32 HOMER 

only child and well-beloved? As for him he hath perished, 
Odysseus of the seed of Zeus, far from his own country in 
the land of strangers. And yonder men, so soon as thou art 
gone, will devise mischief against thee thereafter, that thou 
mayest perish by guile, and they will share among them all 
this wealth of thine. Nay, abide here, settled on thine own 
lands: thou hast no need upon the deep unharvested to 
suffer evil and go wandering.' 

Then wise Telemachus answered her, saying : * Take heart, 
nurse, for lo, this my purpose came not but of a god. But 
swear to tell no word thereof to my dear mother, till at 
least it shall be the eleventh or twelfth day from hence, or 
till she miss me of herself, and hear of m.y departure, that 
so she may not mar her fair face with her tears.' 

Thus he spake, and the old woman sware a great oath by 
the gods not to reveal it. But when she had sworn and done 
that oath, straightway she drew off the wine for him in jars, 
and poured barley-meal into well-sewn skins, and Telemachus 
departed to the house and consorted with the wooers. 

Then the goddess, grey-eyed Athene, turned to other 
thoughts. In the likeness of Telemachus she went all 
through the city, and stood by each one of the men and spake 
her saying, and bade them gather at even by the swift ship. 
Furthermore, she craved a swift ship of Noemon, famous 
son of Phronius, and right gladly he promised it. 

Now the sun sank and all the ways were darkened. Then 
at length she let drag the swift ship to the sea and stored 
within it all such tackling as decked ships carry. And she 
moored it at the far end of the harbour and the good com- 
pany was gathered together, and the goddess cheered on all. 

Then the goddess, grey-eyed Athene, turned to other 
thoughts. She went on her way to the house of divine 
Odysseus; and there she shed sweet sleep upon the wooers 
and made them distraught in their drinking, and cast the cups 
from their hands. And they arose up to go to rest through- 
out the city, nor sat they yet a long while, for slumber was 
falling on their eyelids. Now grey-eyed Athene spake unto 
Telemachus, and called him from out the fair-lying halls, 
taking the likeness of Mentor, both in fashion and in voice: 

* Telemachus, thy goodly-greaved cpmpanions are sitting 

A— Vol, 22 HC 



THE ODYSSEY 33 

already at their oars, it is thy despatch they are awaiting. 
Nay then, let us go, that we delay them not long from the 
way/ 

Therewith Pallas Athene led the way quickly, and he 
followed hard in the steps of the goddess. Now when they 
had come down to the ship and to the sea, they found the 
long-haired youths of the company on the shore; and the 
mighty prince Telemachus spake among them : 

' Come hither, friends, let us carry the corn on board, for 
all is now together in the room, and my mother knows 
nought thereof, nor any of the m.aidens of the house: one 
woman only heard my saying.' 

Thus he spake and led the way, and they went with him. 
So they brought all and stowed it in the decked ship, ac- 
cording to the word of the dear son of Odysseus. Then 
Telemachus climbed the ship, and Athene went before him, 
and behold, she sat her down in the stern, and near her sat 
Telemachus. And the men loosed the hawsers and climbed 
on board themselves and sat down upon the benches. And 
grey-eyed Athene sent them a favourable gale, a fresh West 
Wind, singing over the wine-dark sea. 

And Telemachus called unto his company and bade them 
lay hands on the tackling, and they hearkened to his call. 
So they raised the mast of pine tree and set it in the hole of 
the cross plank, and made it fast vv^ith forestays, and hauled 
up the white sails with twisted ropes of oxhide. And the 
wind filled the belly of the sail, and the dark wave seethed 
loudly round the stem of the running ship, and she fleeted 
over the wave, accomplishing her path. Then they made all 
fast in the swift black ship, and set mixing bowls brimmed 
with wine, and poured drink offering to the deathless gods 
that are from everlasting, and in chief to the grey-eyed 
daughter of Zeus. So all night long and through the dawn 
the ship cleft her way. 



B— Vol. 22 HC 




BOOK III 

Nestor entertains Telemachus at Pylos and tells him how the 
Greeks departed from Troy; and sends him for further information 
to Sparta. 

"OW the sun arose and left the lovely mere, speeding 
to the brazen heaven, to give light to the immortals 
and to mortal men on the earth, the graingiver, and 
they reached Pylos, the stablished castle of Neleus. There 
the people were doing sacrifice on the sea shore, slaying 
black bulls without spot to the dark-haired god, the shaker 
of the earth. Nine companies there were, and five hundred 
men sat in each, and in every company they held nine bulls 
ready to hand. Just as they had tasted the inner parts, and 
were burning the slices of the thighs on the altar to the 
god, the others were bearing straight to land, and brailed up 
the sails of the gallant ship, and moored her, and themselves 
came forth. And Telemachus too stept forth from the ship, 
and Athene led the way. And the goddess, grey-eyed Ath- 
ene, spake first to him, saying : 

' Telemachus, thou needst not now be abashed, no, not 
one whit. For to this very end didst thou sail over the deep, 
that thou mightest hear tidings of thy father, even where 
the earth closed over him, and what manner of death he 
met. But come now, go straight to Nestor, tamer of horses : 
let us learn what counsel he hath in the secret of his heart. 
And beseech him thyself that he may give unerring answer; 
and he will not lie to thee, for he is very wise.' 

The wise Telemachus answered, saying: * Mentor, and 
how shall I go, how shall I greet him, I, who am untried in 
v/ords of wisdom? Moreover, a young man may well be 
abashed to question an elder.' 

Then the goddess, grey-eyed Athene, spake to him agaiti: 
* Telemachus, thou shalt bethink thee of somewhat in thine 
own breast, and somewhat the god will give thee to say. 

34 



THE ODYSSEY 35 

For thou, methlnks, of all men wert not born and bred 
without the will of the gods/ 

So spake Pallas Athene and led the way quickly; and he 
followed hard in the steps of the goddess. And they came 
to the gathering and the session of the men of Pylos. There 
v/as Nestor seated with his sons, and round him his com- 
pany making ready the feast, and roasting some of the 
flesh and spitting other. Now when they saw the strangers, 
they went all together, and clasped their hands in welcome, 
and would have them sit down. First Peisistratus, son of 
Nestor, drew nigh, and took the hands of each, and made 
them to sit down at the feast on soft fleeces upon the sea 
sand, beside his brother Thrasymedes and his father. And 
he gave them messes of the inner meat, and poured wine 
into a golden cup, and pledging her, he spake unto Pallas 
Athene, daughter of Zeus, lord of the aegis : 

' Pray now, my guest, to the lord Poseidon, even as it is 
his feast whereon ye have chanced in coming hither. And 
when thou hast made drink-offering and prayed, as is due, 
give thy friend also the cup of honeyed wine to make offering 
thereof, inasmuch as he too, methinks, prayeth to the death- 
less gods, for all men stand in need of the gods. Howbeit 
he is younger and mine own equal in years, therefore to 
thee first will I give the golden chalice.' 

Therewith he placed in her hand the cup of sweet wine. 
And Athene rejoiced in the wisdom^ and judgment of the 
man, in that he had given to her first the chalice of gold. 
And straightway she prayed, and that instantly, to the lord 
Poseidon : 

* Hear me, Poseidon, girdler of the earth, and grudge not 
the fulfilment of this labour in answer to our prayer. To 
Nestor first and to his sons vouchsafe renown, and there- 
after grant to all the people of Pylos a gracious recompense 
for this splendid hecatomb. Grant moreover that Telema- 
chus and I may return, when we have accomplished that for 
which v\^e came hither with our swift black ship.' 

Now as she prayed on this wise, herself the while was 
fulfilling the prayer. And she gave Telemachus the fair 
two-handled cup ; and in like manner prayed the dear son of 
Odysseus. Then, when the others had roasted the outer 



36 HOMER 

parts and drawn them off the spits, they divided the messes 
and shared the glorious feast. But when they had put from 
ihem the desire of meat and drink, Nestor of Gerenia, lord 
of chariots, first spake among them: 

* Now is the better time to enquire and ask of the 
strangers who they are, now that they have had their de- 
light <j2 food. Strangers, who are ye? Whence sail ye over 
the w^et ways ? On some trading enterprise, or at adventure 
do ye rove, even as sea-robbers, over the brine, for they 
wander at hazard of their own lives bringing bale to alien 
men ? ' 

Then wise Telemachus answered him and spake with 
courage, for Athene herself had put boldness in his heart, 
that he might ask about his father who was afar, and that 
he might be had in good report among men: 

* Nestor, son of Neleus, great glory of the Achaeans, thou 
askest whence we are, and I will surely tell thee all. We 
have come forth out of Ithaca that is below Neion ; and this 
our quest whereof I speak is a matter of mine own, and not 
of the common weal. I follow after the far-spread rumour 
of my father, if haply I may hear thereof, even of the goodly 
steadfast Odysseus, who upon a time, men say, fought by 
thy side and sacked the city of the Trojans. For of all 
the others, as many as warred with the Trojans, we hear 
tidings, and where each one fell by a pitiful death; but 
even the death of this man Cronion hath left untold. For 
none can surely declare the place where he hath perished, 
whether he was smitten by foemen on the mainland, or 
lost upon the deep among the waves of Amphitrite. So 
now am I come hither to thy knees, if perchance thou art 
willing to tell me of his pitiful death, as one that saw it with 
thine own eyes, or heard the story from some other wan- 
derer, — for his mother bare him to exceeding sorrow. And 
speak me no soft words in ruth or pity, but tell me plainly 
what sight thou didst get of him. Ah ! I pray thee, if ever 
at all my father, noble Odysseus, made promise to thee of 
word or work, and fulfilled the same in the land of the 
Trojans, where ye Achaeans suffered affliction; these things, 
1 pray thee, now remember and tell me truth.' 

Then Nestor of Gerenia, lord of chariots, answered hims 



THE ODYSSEY 37 

^My friend, since thou hast brought sorrow back to mind, 
behold, this is the story of the woe which we endured in that 
land, we sons of the Achaeans, unrestrained in fury, and of 
all that we bore in wanderings after spoil, sailing with our 
ships over the misty deep, wheresoever Achilles led; and of 
all our war round the mighty burg of king Priam. Yea and 
there the best of us were slain. There lies valiant Aias, and 
there Achilles, and there Patroclus, the peer of the gods in 
counsel, and there my own dear son, strong and noble, An- 
tilochus, that excelled in speed of foot and in the fight. 
And many other ills we suffered beside these; who of 
mortal men could tell the tale ? Nay none, though thou wert 
to abide here for five years, ay and for six, and ask of all 
the ills which the goodly Achaeans then endured. Ere all 
was told thou wouldst be weary and turn to thine own 
country. For nine whole years we were busy about them, 
devising their ruin with all manner of craft; and scarce 
did Cronion bring it to pass. There never a man durst 
match with him in wisdom, for goodly Odysseus very far 
outdid the rest in all manner of craft, Odysseus thy father, 
if indeed thou art his son, — amazement comes upon me as 
I look at thee; for verily thy speech is like unto his; none 
would say that a younger man would speak so like an elder. 
Now look you, all the while that myself and goodly Odys- 
seus were there, we never spake diversely either in the as- 
sembly or in the council, but always were of one mind, and 
advised the Argives with understanding and sound counsel, 
how all might be for the very best. But after v/e had 
sacked the steep city of Priam, and had departed in our 
ships, and a god had scattered the Achaeans, even then did 
Zeus devise in his heart a pitiful returning for the Argives, 
for in no wise were they all discreet or just. Wherefore 
many of them met with an ill faring by reason of the deadly 
wrath of the grey-eyed goddess, the daughter of the mighty 
sire, who set debate between the two sons of Atreus. And 
they twain called to the gathering of the host all the 
Achaeans, recklessly and out of order, against the going 
down of the sun; and lo, the sons of the Achaeans came 
heavy v/ith wine. And the Atreidae spake out and told 
the reason wherefore they had assembled the host. Ih&D. 



38 . HOMER 

verily Menelaus charged all the Achaeans to bethink them 
of returning over the broad back of the sea, but in no sort 
did he please Agamemnon, whose desire was to keep back 
the host and to offer holy hecatombs, that so he might ap- 
pease that dread wrath of Athene. FooM for he knew not 
this, that she was never to be won; for the mind of the 
everlasting gods is not lightly turned to repentance. So 
these twain stood bandying hard words; but the goodly- 
greaved Achaeans sprang up with a wondrous din, and 
twofold counsels found favour among them. So that one 
night we rested, thinking hard things against each other, 
for Zeus was fashioning for us a ruinous doom. But in 
the morning, we of the one part drew our ships to the fair 
salt sea, and put aboard our wealth, and the low-girdled 
Trojan women. Now one half the people abode steadfastly 
there with Agamemnon, son of Atreus, shepherd of the 
host; and half of us embarked and drave to sea and 
swiftly the ships sailed, for a god made smooth the sea with 
the depths thereof. And when we came to Tenedos, we did 
sacrifice to the gods, being eager for the homeward way ; but 
Zeus did not yet purpose our returning, nay, hard was he, 
that roused once more an evil strife among us. Then some 
turned back their curved ships, and went their way, even 
the company of Odysseus, the wise and manifold in counsel, 
once again showing a favour to Agamemnon, son of Atreus. 
But I fled on with the squadron that followed me, for I knew 
how now the god imagined mischief. And the warlike son 
of Tydeus fled and roused his mxcn thereto. And late in our 
track came Menelaus of the fair hair, who found us in 
Lesbos, considering about the long voyage, whether we 
should go sea-ward of craggy Chios, by the isle of Psyria, 
keeping the isle upon our left, or inside Chios past windy 
Mimas. So we asked the god to show us a sign, and a sign 
he declared to us, and bade us cleave a path across the 
middle sea to Euboea, that we might flee the swiftest way 
from sorrow. And a shrill wind arose and blew, and the 
ships ran most fleetly over the teeming ways, and in the 
night they touched at Geraestus. So there we sacrificed 
many thighs of bulls to Poseidon, for joy that we had 
measured out so great a stretch of sea. it was the fourth 



THE ODYSSEY 39 

day when the company of Diomede, son of Tydeus, tamer of 
iiorses, moored their gallant ships at Argos; but I held on 
for Pylos, and the breeze was never quenched from the 
hour that the god sent it forth to blow. Even so I came, 
dear child, without tidings, nor know I aught of those others, 
which of the Achaeans were saved and which were lost. 
But all that I hear tell of as I sit in our halls, thou shalt 
learn as it is meet, and I will hide nothing from thee. 
Safely, they say, came the Myrmidons the wild spear smen, 
whom the famous son of high-souled Achilles led; and 
safely Philoctetes, the glorious son of Poias. And Ido- 
meneus brought all his company to Crete, all that escaped 
the war, and from him the sea gat none. And of the son 
of Atreus even yourselves have heard, far apart though ye 
dwell, how he came, and how Aegisthus devised his evil 
end; but verily he himself paid a terrible reckoning. So 
good a thing it is that a son of the dead should still be left, 
even as that son also took vengeance on the slayer of his 
father, guileful Aegisthus, who slew his famous sire. And 
thou too, my friend, for I see thee very comely and tall, 
be valiant, that even men unborn may praise thee.' 

And wise Telemachus answered him, and said : ' Nestor, 
son of Neleus, great glory of the Achaeans, verily and in- 
deed he avenged himself, and the Achaeans shall noise his 
fame abroad, that even those may hear who are yet for 
to be. Oh that the gods would clothe me with such strength 
as his, that I might take vengeance on the wooers for their 
cruel transgression, who wantonly devise against m.e in- 
fatuate deeds ! But the gods have woven for me the web 
of no such weal, for me or for my sire. But now I must 
in any wise endure it.' 

Then Nestor of Gerenia, lord of chariots, made ansv/er: 
* Dear friend, seeing thou dost call these things to my re- 
membrance and speak thereof, they tell me that many wooers 
for thy mother's hand plan mischief within the halls in thy 
despite. Say, dost thou willingly submit thee to oppression, 
or do the people through the land hate thee, obedient to the 
voice of a god? Who knows but that Odysseus may some 
day com.e and requite their violence, either himself alone or 
bU the host of the Achaeans with him? Ah, if but grey-eyed 



40 HOMER 

Athene were inclined to love thee, as once she cared exceed- 
ingly for the renowned Odysseus in the land of the Trojans, 
where we Achaeans were sore afflicted, — for never yet have 
I seen the gods show forth such manifest love, as then did 
Pallas Athene standing manifest by him, — if she would be 
pleased so to love thee and to care for thee, then might 
certain of them clean forget their marriage/ 

And wise Telemachus answered hira, saying: * Old man, 
in no wise methinks shall this word be accomplished. This 
is a hard saying of thine, awe comes over me. Not for my 
hopes shall this thing come to pass, not even if the gods so 
willed it/ 

Then the goddess, grey-eyed Athene, spake to him again: 
* Telemachus, what word hath escaped the door of thy lips ? 
Lightly might a god, if so he would, bring a man safe home 
even from afar. Rather myself would I have travail and 
much pain ere I came home and saw the day of my return- 
ing, than come back and straightway perish on my own 
hearth-stone, even as Agamemnon perished by guile at the 
hands of his own wife and of Aegisthus, But lo you, 
death, which is common to all, the very gods cannot avert 
even from the man they love, when the ruinous doom shall 
bring him low of death that lays men at their length/ 

And wise Telemachus answered her, saying : * Mentor, no 
longer let us tell of these things, sorrowful though we be. 
There is none assurance any more of his returning, but 
already have the deathless gods devised for him death and 
black fate. But now I would question Nestor, and ask him 
of another matter, as one who above all men knows judg- 
ment and wisdom: for thrice, men say, he hath been king 
through the generations of men; yea, like an immortal he 
seems to me to look upon. Nestor, son of Neleus, now 
tell me true : how died the son of Atreus, Agamemnon of the 
wide domain? Where was Menelaus? What death did 
crafty Aegisthus plan for him, in that he killed a man more 
valiant far than he? Or was Menelaus not in Argos ox 
Achaia but wandering elsewhere among men, and that other 
took heart and slew Agamemnon?* 

Then Nestor of Gerenia, lord of chariots, answered him: 
*Yea now, my child, I will tell thee the whole truth. Verily 



THE ODYSSEY 41 

thou guessest aright even of thyself how things would have 
fallen out, if Menelaus of the fair hair, the son of Atreus, 
when he came back from Troy, had found Aegisthus yet 
alive in the halls. Then even in his death would they not 
have heaped the piled earth over him, but dogs and fowls 
of the air would have devoured him^ as he lay on the plain 
far from the town/ Nor would any of the Achaean women 
have bewailed him; so dread was the deed he contrived. 
Now we sat in leaguer there, achieving many adventures; 
but he the while in peace in the heart of Argos, the pas- 
tureland of horses, spake ofttimes, tem.pting her, to the wife 
of Agamemnon. Verily at the first she would none of 
the foul deed, the fair Clytemnestra, for she had a good 
understanding. Moreover, there was with her a minstrel, 
whom the son of Atreus straitly charged as he went to 
Troy to have a care of his wife. But when at last the doom 
of the gods bound her to her ruin, then did Aegisthus carry 
the minstrel to a lonely isle, and left him there to be the 
prey and spoil of birds; while as for her, he led her to 
his house, a willing lover with a willing lady. And he 
burnt many thigh slices upon the holy altars of the gods, 
and hung up many offerings, woven-work and gold, seeing 
that he had accomplished a great deed, beyond all hope. 
Now we, I say, were sailing together on our way from 
Troy, the son of Atreus and I, as loving friends. But 
when we had reached holy Sunium, the headland of Athens, 
there Phoebus Apollo slew the pilot of Menelaus with the 
visitation of his gentle shafts, as he held between his hands 
the rudder of the running ship, even Phrontis, son of On- 
etor, who excelled the tribes of men in piloting a ship, when- 
50 the storm-winds were hurrying by. Thus was Menelaus 
holden there, though eager for the way, till he might bury 
his friend and pay the last rites over him. But when he 
in his turn, faring over the wine-dark sea in hollow ships, 
reached in swift course the steep mount of Malea, then it 
was that Zeus of the far-borne voice devised a hateful 
path, and shed upon them the breath of the shrill winds, and 
great swelling waves arose like unto mountains. There sun< 
dered he the fleet in twain, and part thereof he brought nigh 

* Reading atneosc v. I. 'Apveo?, which must be wrong. 



42 HOMER 

to Crete, where the Cydonians dwelt about the streams of 
lardanus. Now there is a certain cliff, smooth and sheer 
towards the sea, on the border of Gortyn, in the misty deep, 
.where the South-West Wind drives a great wave against 
the left headland, towards Phaestus, and a little rock keeps 
back the mighty water. Thither came one part of the fleet, 
and the men scarce escaped destruction, but the ships were 
broken hy the waves against the rock; while those other 
five dark-prowed ships the wind and the water bare and 
brought nigh to Egypt. Thus Menelaus, gathering much 
livelihood and gold, was wandering there with his ships 
among men of strange speech, and even then Aegisthus 
planned that pitiful work at home. And for seven years 
he ruled over Mycenae, rich in gold, after he slew the son 
of Atreus, and the people were subdued unto him. But in 
the eighth year came upon him goodly Orestes back from 
Athens to be his bane, and slew the slayer of his father, 
guileful Aegisthus, who killed his famous sire. Now when 
he had slain him, he made a funeral feast to the Argives 
over his hateful mother, and over the craven Aegisthus. 
And on the selfsam.e day there came to him Menelaus of 
the loud war-cry, bringing much treasure, even all the freight 
of his ships. So thou, my friend, wander not long far 
away from home, leaving thy substance behind thee and men 
in thy house so wanton, lest they divide and utterly devour 
all thy wealth, and thou shalt have gone on a vain journey. 
Rather I bid and command thee to go to Menelaus, for he 
hath lately come from a strange country, from the land o£ 
men whence none would hope in his heart to return, whom 
once the storms have driven wandering into so wide a sea. 
Thence not even the birds can make their way in the space 
of one year, so great a sea it is and terrible. But go now 
with thy ship and with thy company, or if thou hast a mind 
to fare by land, I have a chariot and horses at thy service, 
yea and my sons to do thy will, who will be thy guides 
to goodly Lacedaem-on, where is Menelaus of the fair 
hair. Do thou thyself entreat him, that he may give thee 
unerring answer. He will not lie to thee, for he is very 
wise.' 
Thus he spake^ and the sun went down and darkness cam® 



THE ODYSSEY 43 

on. Then the goddess, grey-eyed Athene, spake among them, 
saying : * Yea, old man, thou hast told all this thy tale 
aright. But come, cut up the tongues of the victims and 
mix the wine, that we may pour forth before Poseidon and 
the other deathless gods, and so may bethink us of sleep, 
for it is the hour for sleep. For already has the light gone 
beneath the west, and it is not seemly to sit long at a ban- 
quet of the gods, but to be going hom^e.' 

So spake the daughter of Zeus, and they hearkened to 
her voice. And the henchmen poured water over their hands, 
and pages crowned the mixing bowls with drink, and served 
out the wine to all, after they had first poured for libation 
into each cup in turn; and they cast the tongues upon the 
fire, and stood up and poured the drink-offering thereon. But 
when they had poured forth and had drunken to their heart's 
content, Athene and godlike Telemachus were both set on 
returning to the hollow ship; but Nestor would have stayed 
them, and accosted them, saying : * Zeus forf end it, and all 
the other deathless gods, that ye should depart from m.y 
house to the swift ship, as from the dwelling of one that is 
utterly without raiment or a needy man, who hath not rugs 
or blankets many in his house whereon to sleep softly, he or 
his guests. Nay not so, I have rugs and fair blankets by 
me. Never, methinks, shall the dear son of this man, even 
of Odysseus, lay him down upon the ship's deck, while as yet 
I am alive, and my children after me are left in my hall to 
entertain strangers, whoso may chance to come to my house.' 

Then the goddess, grey-eyed Athene, spake to him again: 
* Yea, herein hast thou spoken aright, dear father : and 
Telemachus may well obey thee, for before all things this is 
meet. Behold, he shall now depart with thee, that he may 
sleep in thy halls ; as for me I will go to the black ship, that 
I may cheer my company and tell them all. For I avow me 
to be the one elder among them ; those others are but younger 
men, who follow for love of him, all of them of like age 
with the high-souled Telemachus. There will I lay me 
down by the black hollow ship this night; but in the morn- 
ing I will go to the Cauconians high of heart, where some- 
what of mine is owing to me, no small debt nor of yesterday. 
But do thou send this man upon his way with thy chariot 



44 HOMER 

and thy son, since he hath come to thy house, and give him 
horses the lightest of foot and chief in strength.' 

Therewith grey-eyed Athene departed in the semblance of 
a sea-eagle; and amazement fell on all that saw it, and the 
old man he marvelled when his eyes beheld it. And he took 
the hand of Telemachus and spake and hailed him: 

* My friend, methinks that thou v/ilt in no sort be a coward 
and a weakling, if indeed in thy youth the gods thus follow 
with thee to be thy guides. For truly this is none other of 
those who keep the mansions of Olympus, save only the 
daughter of Zeus, the driver of the spoil, the maiden Trito- 
born, she that honoured thy good father too among the 
Argives. Nay be gracious, queen, and vouchsafe a goodly 
fame to me, even to me and to my sons and to my wife 
revered. And I in turn will sacrifice to thee a yearling 
heifer, broad of brow, unbroken, w^hich man never yet hath 
led beneath the yoke. Such an one will I offer to thee, and 
gild her horns with gold.' 

Even so he spake in prayer, and Pallas Athene heard 
him. Then Nestor of Gerenia, lord of chariots, led them, 
even his sons and the husbands of his daughters, to his own 
fair house. But when they had reached this prince's fa- 
mous halls, they sat down all orderly on seats and high 
chairs; and when they were come, the old man mixed well 
for them a bowl of sweet wine, which now in the eleventh 
year from the vintaging the housewife opened, and un- 
loosed the string that fastened the lid. The old man let 
mix a bowl thereof, and prayed instantly to Athene as he 
poured forth before her, even to the daughter of Zeus, lord 
of the aegis. 

But after they had poured forth and had drunken to their 
heart's content, these went each one to his own house to lie 
down to rest. But Nestor of Gerenia, lord of chariots, would 
needs have Telemachus, son of divine Odysseus, to sleep 
there on a jointed bedstead beneath the echoing gallery, and 
by him Peisistratus of the good ashen spear, leader of men, 
who alone of his sons was yet unwed in his halls. As 
for him he slept within the inmost chamber of the lofty 
house, and the lady his wife arrayed for him bedstead 
and bedding. 



THE ODYSSEY 45 

So soon as early Dawn shone forth, the rosy-fingered, 
Nestor of Gerenia, lord of chariots, gat him up from his bed, 
and he went forth and sat him down upon the smooth stones, 
which were before his lofty doors, all polished, white and 
glistening, whereon Neleus sat of old, in counsel the peer of 
the gods. Howbeit, stricken by fate, he had ere now gone 
down to the house of Hades, and to-day Nestor of Gerenia 
in his turn sat thereon, warder of the Achaeans, with his 
staff in his hands. And about him his two sons were gath- 
ered and come together, issuing from their chambers, Eche- 
phron and Stratius, and Perseus and Aretus and the godlike 
Thrasymedes. And sixth and last came the hero Peisistratus. 
And they led godlike Telemachus and set him by their side, 
and Nestor of Gerenia, lord of chariots, spake first among 
them: 

' Quickly^ my dear children, accomplish my desire, that 
first of all the gods I may propitiate Athene, who came to 
me in visible presence to the rich feast of the god. Nay 
then, let one go to the plain for a heifer, that she may come 
as soon as may be, and that the neat-herd may drive her : and 
let another go to the black ship of high-souled Telemachus to 
bring all his company, and let him leave two men only. And 
let one again bid Laerces the goldsmith to come hither that 
he may gild the horns of the heifer. And ye others, abide 
ye here together and speak to the handmaids within that they 
make ready a banquet through our famous halls, and fetch 
seats and logs to set about the altar, and bring clear water,' 

Thus he spake and lo, they all hastened to the work. The 
heifer she came from the field, and from the swift gallant 
ship came the company of great-hearted Telemachus; the 
smith came holding in his hands his tools, the instruments of 
his craft, anvil and hammer and well-made pincers, where- 
with he wrought the gold; Athene too came to receive her 
sacrifice. And the old knight Nestor gave gold, and the other 
fashioned it skilfully, and gilded therewith the horns of the 
heifer, that the goddess might be glad at ih.e. sight of her 
fair offering. And Stratius and goodly Echephron led the 
heifer by the horns. And Aretus came forth from the cham- 
ber bearing water for the washing of hands in a basin of 
flowered work, and in the other hand he held the barley-meal 



46 HOMER 

in a basket; and Thrasymedes, steadfast in the battle, stood 
by holding ni his hand a sharp axe, ready to smite the heifer. 
And Perseus held the dish for the blood, and the old man 
Nestor, driver of chariots, performed the first rite of the 
washing of hands and the sprinkling of the meal, and he 
prayed instantly to Athene as he began the rite, casting into 
the fire the lock from the head of the victim. 

Now when they had prayed and tossed the sprinkled 
grain, straightway the son of Nestor, gallant Thrasymedes, 
stood by and struck the blow; and the axe severed the ten- 
dons of the neck and loosened the might of the heifer; and 
the women raised their cry, the daughters and the sons' 
wives and the wife revered of Nestor, Eurydice, eldest of the 
daughters of Clymenus. And now they lifted the victim's 
head from the wide-wayed earth, and held it so, while Peisis- 
tratus, leader of men, cut the throat. And after the black 
blood had gushed forth and the life had left the bones, 
quickly they broke up the body, and anon cut slices from the 
thighs all duly, and wrapt the same in the fat, folding them 
double, and laid raw flesh thereon. So that old man burnt 
them on the cleft wood, and poured over them the red wine, 
and by his side the young men held in their hands the five- 
pronged forks. Now after that the thighs were quite con- 
sumed and they had tasted the inner parts, they cut the rest 
up small and spitted and roasted it, holding the sharp spits 
in their hands. 

Meanwhile she bathed Telemachus, even fair Polycaste, 
the youngest daughter of Nestor, son of Neleus. And after 
she had bathed him and anointed him with olive oil, and 
cast about him a goodly mantle and a doublet, he cam.e 
forth from the bath in fashion like the deathless gods. 
So he went and sat him down by Nestor, shepherd of the 
people. 

Nov/ when they had roasted the outer flesh, and drawn it 
off the spits, they sat down and fell to feasting, and honour- 
able men waited on them, pouring wine into the golden cups. 
But v/hen they had put from them the desire of meat and 
drink, Nestor of Gerenia, lord of chariots, first spake among 
them: 

*Lo now, my son, yoke for Telemachus horses with 



THE ODYSSEY 47 

flowing mane and lead them beneath the car, that he may- 
get forward on his way/ 

Even so he spake, and they gave good heed and hearkened ; 
and quickly they yoked the swift horses beneath the chariot. 
And the dame that kept the stores placed therein corn and 
wine and dainties, such as princes eat, the fosterlings of 
Zeus. So Telemachus stept up into the goodly car, and 
with him Peisistratus son of Nestor, leader of men, likewise 
cHmbed the car and grasped the reins in his hands, and he 
touched the horses with the whip to start them, and nothing 
loth the pair flew towards the plain, and left the steep citadel 
of Pylos. So all day long they swayed the yoke they bore 
upon their necks. 

Now the sun sank and all the ways were darkened. And 
they came to Pherae, to the house of Diodes, son of Orsi- 
lochus, the child begotten of Alpheus. There they rested 
for the night, and by them he set the entertainment of 
strangers. 

Now so soon as early Dawn shone forth, the rosy-flngered, 
they yoked the horses and mounted the inlaid car. And forth 
they drave from the gateway and the echoing gallery, and 
Peisistratus touched the horses with the whip to start them, 
and the pair flew onward nothing loth. So they came to the 
wheat-bearing plain, and thenceforth they pressed toward 
the end: in such wise did the swift horses speed forward. 
Now the sun sank and all the ways were darkened. 




BOOK IV 

Telemachus's entertainment at Sparta, where Menelaus tells him 
what befell many of the Greeks on their return ; that Odysseus was 
with Calypso in the isle Ogygia, as he was told by Proteus. 

ND they came to Lacedaemon lying low among the 
caverned hills, and drave to the dwelling of renowned 
Menelaus. Him they found giving a feast in his house 
to many friends of his kin, a feast for the wedding of his 
noble son and daughter. His daughter he was sending to 
the son of Achilles, cleaver of the ranks of men, for in Troy 
he first had promised and covenanted to give her, and now 
the gods were bringing about their marriage. So now he 
was speeding her on her way with chariot and horses, to the 
famous city of the Myrmidons, among whom her lord bare 
rule. And for his son he was bringing to his home the 
daughter of Alector out of Sparta, for his well-beloved son, 
strong Megapenthes,^ born of a slave woman, for the gods 
no more showed promise of seed to Helen, from the day that 
she bare a lovely child, Hermione, as fair as golden Aphro- 
dite. So they were feasting through the great vaulted hall, 
the neighbours and the kinsmen of renowned Menelaus, 
making merry; and among them a divine minstrel was sing- 
ing to the lyre, and as he began the song two tumblers in 
the company whirled through the midst of them. 

Meanwhile those twain, the hero Telemachus and the 
splendid son of Nestor, made halt at the entry of the gate, 
they and their horses. And the lord Eteoneus came forth 
and saw them, the ready squire of renowned Menelaus; 
and he went through the palace to bear the tidings to the 
shepherd of the people, and standing near spake to him 
winged words : 

* Menelaus, fosterling of Zeus, here are two strangers, 

whosoever they be, two men like to the lineage of great Zeus. 
I. 

^A son of sorrow: Tristram. 



THE ODYSSEY 49 

Say, shall we loose their swift horses from under the yoke, or 
send them onward to some other host who shall receive them 
kindly?' 

Then in sore displeasure spake to him Menelaus of the 
fair hair : ' Eteoneus son of Boethous, truly thou wert not 
a fool aforetime, but now for this once, like a child thou 
talkest folly. Surely ourselves ate much hospitable cheer of 
other men, ere we twain came hither, even if in time to come 
Zeus haply give us rest from affliction. Nay go, unyoke 
the horses of the strangers, and as for the men, lead them 
forward to the house to feast with us.' 

So spake he, and Eteoneus hasted from the hall, and called 
the other ready squires to follow with him. So they loosed 
the sweating horses from beneath the yoke, and fastened 
them at the stalls of the horses, and threw beside them spelt, 
and therewith mixed white barley, and tilted the chariot 
against the shining faces of the gateway, and led the men 
into the hall divine. And they beheld and marvelled as they 
gazed throughout the palace of the king, the fosterling of 
Zeus; for there was a gleam as it were of sun or moon 
through the lofty palace of renowned Menelaus. But after 
they had gazed their fill, they went to the polished baths and 
bathed them. Now when the maidens had bathed them and 
anointed them with olive oil, and cast about them thick cloaks 
and doublets, they sat on chairs by Menelaus, son of Atreus. 
And a handmaid bare water for the hands in a goodly golden 
ev/er, and poured it forth over a silver basin to wash withal ; 
and to their side she drew a polished table, and a grave dame 
bare food and set it by them, and laid upon the board many 
dainties, giving freely of such things as she had by her, and 
a carver lifted and placed by them platters of divers kinds of 
flesh, and nigh them he set golden bowls. So Menelaus 
of the fair hair greeted the twain and spake: 

* Taste ye food and be glad, and thereafter when ye have 
supped, we will ask what men ye are; for the blood of your 
parents is not lost in you, but ye are of the line of men that 
are sceptred kings, the fosterlings of Zeus; for no churls 
could beget sons like you.' 

So spake he, and took and set before them the fat ox- 
chine roasted, which they had given him as his own mess by 



so HOMER I 

way of honour. And they stretched forth their hands upon 
the good cheer set before them. Now when they had put 
from them the desire of meat and drink Telemachus spake to 
the son of Nestor, holding his head close to him, that those 
others might not hear : 

* Son of Nestor, deHght of my heart, mark the flashing of 
bronze through the echoing halls, and the flashing of gold 
and of amber and of silver and of ivory. Such like, methinks, 
is the court of Olympian Zeus within, for the world of things 
that are here ; wonder com.es over me as I look thereon.' 

And as he spake Menelaus of the fair hair was ware of 
him, and uttering his voice spake to them winged words : 

* Children dear, of a truth no one of mortal men may con- 
tend with Zeus, for his mansions and his treasures are ever- 
lasting: but of men there may be vv^ho will vie with me in 
treasure, or there may be none. Yea, for after many a woe 
and wanderings manifold, I brought my wealth home in ships, 
and in the eighth year came hither. I roamed over Cyprus 
and Phoenicia and Egypt, and reached the Aethiopians and 
Sidonians and Erembi and Libya, where lambs are horned 
from the birth. For there the ewes yean thrice within the 
full circle of a year ; there neither lord nor shepherd lacketh 
aught of cheese or flesh or of sweet milk, but ever the flocks 
yield store of milk continual. While I v^as yet roaming in 
those lands, gathering much livelihood, meantime another 
slew my brother privily, at unawares, by the guile of his 
accursed wife. Thus, look you, I have no joy of my lord- 
ship among these my possessions: and ye are like to have 
heard hereof from your fathers, whosoever they be, for I 
have suffered much and let a house go to ruin that was 
stablished fair, and had in it much choice substance. I would 
that I had but a third part of those my riches, and dwelt in 
my halls, and that those men were yet safe, who perished of 
old in the wide land of Troy, far from xA^rgos, the pasture- 
land of horses. Howbeit, though I bewail them all and 
sorrow oftentimes as I sit in our halls, — awhile indeed I 
satisfy my soul with lamentation, and then again I cease ; for 
soon hath man enough of chill lamentation — yet for them all 
I make no such dole, despite my grief, as for one only, 
who causes me to loathe both sleep and meat, when I think 



THE ODYSSEY SI 

upon him. For no one of the Achaeans toiled so greatly as 
Odysseus toiled and adventured himself: but to him it was 
to be but labour and trouble, and to me grief ever com- 
fortless for his sake, so long he is afar, nor know we aught, 
v/hether he be alive or dead. Yea methinks they lament him, 
even that old Laertes and the constant Penelope and Telem- 
achus, v/hom he left a child new-born in his house/ 

So spake he, and in the heart of Telemachus he stirred 
a yearning to lament his father; and at his father's name 
he let a tear fall from his eyelids to the ground, and held 
up his purple mantle with both his hands before his eyes. 
And Menelaus marked him and mused in his mind and 
his heart whether he should leave him to speak of his father, 
or first question him and prove him in every word. 

While yet he pondered these things in his mind and in 
his heart, Helen came forth from her fragrant vaulted cham- 
ber, like Artemis of the golden arrows; and with her came 
Adraste and set for her the well-wrought chair, and 
Alcippe bare a rug of soft wool, and Phylo bare a silver 
basket which Alcandre gave her, the wife of Polybus, who 
dwelt in Thebes of Egypt, where is the chief est store of 
wealth in the houses. He gave two silver baths to Menelaus, 
and tripods twain, and ten talents of gold. And besides all 
this, his wife bestowed on Helen lovely gifts; a golden 
distaff did she give, and a silver basket with wheels beneath, 
and the rims thereof w^ere finished with gold. This it was 
that the handmaid Phylo bare and set beside her, filled with 
dressed yarn, and across it was laid a distaff charged with 
wool of violet blue. So Helen sat her down in the chair, and 
beneath was a footstool for the feet. And anon she spake 
to her lord and questioned him of each thing: 

* Menelaus, fosterling of Zeus, know we now who these 
men avow themselves to be that have come under our roof? 
Shall I dissemble or shall I speak the truth? Nay, I am 
minded to tell it. None, I say, have I ever yet seen so like 
another, man nor woman — wonder comes over me as I look on 
him — as this man is like the son of great-hearted Odysseus, 
Telemachus, whom he left a new-born child in his house, 
when for the sake of me, shameless woman that I v/as, ye 
Achaeans cam.e up under Troy with bold war in your hearts,' 



52 HOMER 

And Menelaus of the fair hair answered her, sayings 
'Now I too, lady, mark the likeness even as thou tracest it. 
For such as these were his feet, such his hands, and the 
glances of his eyes, and his head, and his hair withal. Yea, 
and even now I was speaking of Odysseus, as I remembered 
him, of all his woeful travail for my sake; when, lo, he let 
fall a bitter tear beneath his brows, and held his purple 
cloak up before his eyes.* 

And Peisistratus, son of Nestor, answered him, saying: 
'Menelaus, son of Atreus, fosterling of Zeus, leader of the 
host, assuredly this is the son of that very man, even as thou 
sayest. But he is of a sober wit, and thlnketh it shame in 
his heart as on this his first coming to make show of pre- 
sumptuous words in the presence of thee, in whose voice we 
twain delight as in the voice of a god. Now Nestor of Gere- 
nia, lord of chariots, sent me forth to be his guide on the 
way: for he desired to see thee that thou mightest put into 
his heart some word or work. For a son hath many griefs in 
his halls when his father is away, if perchance he hath none 
to stand by him. Even so it is now with Telemachus; his 
father is away, nor hath he others in the township to defend 
him from distress.' 

And Menelaus of the fair hair answered him, and said: 
'Lo now, in good truth there has come unto my house the 
son of a friend indeed, who for my sake endured many 
adventures. And I thought to welcome him on his coming 
more nobly than all the other Argives, if but Olympian Zeus, 
of the far-borne voice, had vouchsafed us a return over the 
sea in our swift ships, — that such a thing should be. And in 
Argos I would have given him a city to dwell in, and stab- 
lished for him a house, and brought him forth from Ithaca 
with his substance and his son and all his people, making 
one city desolate of those that lie around, and are in mine 
own domain. Then ofttimes would we have held converse 
here, and nought would have parted us, the welcoming and 
the welcomed,^ ere the black cloud of death overshadowed us. 
Howsoever, the god himself, methinks, must have been jeal- 

SMr. Evelyn Abbott of BalHol "College' has suggested to us that <f)iJi^oi'Te 
and TepTTo/uteVu are here correlatives, and denote respectively the parts of 
host and of guest. This is sufficiently borne out by the usage of the words , 
elsewhere. 



THE ODYSSEY 53 

ous hereof, who from that hapless man alone cut off his 
returning.' 

So spake he, and in the hearts of all he stirred the desire 
of lamentation. She wept, even Argive Helen the daughter 
of Zeus, and Telemachus wept, and Menelaus the son of 
Atreus; nay, nor did the son of Nestor keep tearless eyes. 
For he bethought him in his heart of noble Antilochus, 
whom the glorious son of the bright Dawn had slain. Think- 
ing upon him he spake winged words : 

* Son of A.treus, the ancient Nestor in his own halls was 
ever wont to say that thou wert wise beyond man's wisdom, 
whensoever we made mention of thee and asked one another 
concerning thee. And now, if it be possible, be persuaded 
by me, who for one have no pleasure in weeping at supper 
time — the new-born day will right soon be upon us.® Not 
indeed that I deem it blame at all to weep for any mortal 
who hath died and met his fate. Lo, this is now the only due 
we pay to miserable men, to cut the hair and let the tear fall 
from the cheek. For I too have a brother dead, nowise the 
meanest of the Argives, and thou art like to have known 
him, for as for me I never encountered him, never beheld 
him. But men say that Antilochus outdid all, being excellent 
in speed of foot and in the fight.' 

And Menelaus of the fair hair answered him^ and said: 
* My friend, lo, thou hast said all that a wise man might 
say or do, yea, and an elder than thou; — for from such 
a sire too thou art sprung, wherefore thou dost even 
speak wisely. Right easily known is that man's seed, for 
whom Cronion weaves the skein of luck at bridal and at 
birth: even as now hath he granted prosperity to Nestor 
for ever for all his days, that he himself should grow 
into a smooth old age in his halls, and his sons moreover 
should be wise and the best of spearsmen. But we will 
cease now the weeping which was erewhile made, and let 
us once more bethink us of our supper, and let them pour 
water over our hands. And again in the morning there 
will be tales for Telemachus and me to tell one to the 
other, even to the end.' 

So spake he. and Asphalion poured water over their hands, 

sCf. B. XV. so. 



54 HOMER 

the ready squire of renowned Menelaus. And they put forth 
their hands upon the good cheer spread before them. 

Then Helen, daughter of Zeus, turned to new thoughts. 
Presently she cast a drug into the wine whereof they drank, 
a drug to lull all pain and anger, and bring forgetfulness 
of every sorrow. Whoso should drink a draught thereof, 
when it is mingled in the bowl, on that day he would let no 
tear fall down his cheeks, not though his mother and his 
father died, not though men slew his brother or dear son 
with the sword before his face, and his own eyes beheld it. 
Medicines of such virtue and so helpful had the daughter of 
Zeus, which Polydamna, the wife of Thon, had given her, a 
woman of Egypt, where earth the grain-giver yields herbs 
in greatest plenty, many that are healing in the cup, and 
many baneful. There each man is a leech skilled beyond all 
human kind; yea, for they are of the race of Paeeon. Now 
after she had cast in the drug and bidden pour forth of the 
wine, she made answer once again, and spake unto her lord : 

* Son of Atreus, Menelaus, fosterling of Zeus, and lo, ye 
sons of noble men, forasmuch as now to one and now to 
another Zeus gives good and evil, for to him all things are 
possible, — now, verily, sit ye down and feast in the halls, and 
take ye joy in the telling of tales, and I will tell you one that 
fits the time. Now all of them I could not tell or number, so 
many as were the adventures of Odysseus of the hardy heart ; 
but, ah, what a deed was this he wrought and dared in his 
hardiness in the land of the Trojans, where ye Achaeans 
suffered affliction. He subdued his body with unseemly 
stripes, and a sorry covering he cast about his shoulders, and 
in the fashion of a servant he went down into the wide-wayed 
city of the foemen, and he hid himself in the guise of another, 
a beggar, though in no wise such an one was he at the ships 
of the Achaeans. In this semblance he passed into the city 
of the Trojans, and they wist not who he was, and I alone 
knew him in that guise, and I kept questioning him, but in 
his subtlety he avoided me. But when at last I was about 
washing him and anointing him with olive oil, and had put 
on him raiment, and sworn a great oath not to reveal 
Odysseus amid the Trojans, ere he reached the swift ships 
and the huts, even then he told me all the purpose of the 



THE ODYSSEY 55 

Achaeans. And after slaying many of the Trojans with the 
long sword, he returned to the Argives and brought bacis 
word again of all. Then the other Trojan women wept aloud, 
but my soul was glad, for already my heart was turned to go 
back again even to my home : and now at the last I groaned 
for the blindness that Aphrodite gave me, when she led me 
thither away from mine own country, forsaking my child and 
my bridal chamber and my lord, that lacked not aught 
whether for wisdom or yet for beauty.' 

And Menelaus of the fair hair answered her, saying: 
* Verily all this tale, lady, thou hast duly told. Ere now 
have I learned the counsel and the thought of many heroes, 
and travelled over many a land, but never yet have mine 
eyes beheld any such man of heart as was Odysseus; such 
another deed as he wrought and dared in his hardiness even 
in the shapen horse, wherein sat all we chiefs of the Argives, 
bearing to the Trojans death and doom. Anon thou earnest 
thither, and sure some god must have bidden thee, who 
wished to bring glory to the Trojans. Yea and godlike 
Deiphobus went with thee on thy way. Thrice thou didst 
go round about the hollow ambush and handle it, calling 
aloud on the chiefs of the Argives by name, and making thy 
voice like the voices of the wives of all the Argives. Now I 
and the son of Tydeus and goodly Odysseus sat in the midst 
and heard thy call ; and verily we twain had a desire to start 
up and come forth or presently to answer from within; but 
Odysseus stayed and held us there, despite our eagerness. 
Then all the other sons of the Achaeans held th^r peace, 
.but Anticlus alone was still m.inded to answer thee. How- 
beit Odysseus firmly closed his mouth with strong hands, 
and so saved all the Achaeans, and held him until such time 
as Pallas Athene led thee back.' 

Then wise Telemachus answered him, and said: 'Mene- 
laus, son of Atreus, fosterling of Zeus, leader of the host, 
all the more grievous it is ! for in no way did this courage 
ward from him pitiful destruction, not though his heart 
within him had been very iron. But come, bid us to bed, 
that forthwith we may take our joy of rest beneath the 
spell of sleep.' 

So spake he, and Argive Helen bade her handmaids set 



56 HOMER 

out bedsteads beneath the gallery, and fling on them fair 
purple blankets and spread coverlets above, and thereon lay 
thick mantles to be a clothing over all. So they went from 
the hall with torch in hand, and spread the beds, and the 
henchman led forth the guests. Thus they slept there in the 
vestibule of the house, the hero Telemachus and the splen- 
did son of Nestor. But the son of Atreus slept, as his 
custom was, in the inmost chamber of the lofty house, and 
by him lay long-robed Helen, that fair lady. 

Soon as early Dawn shone forth, the rosy-fingered, Mene- 
laus of the loud war-shout gat him up from his bed and put 
on his raiment, and cast his sharp sword about his shoulder, 
and beneath his smooth feet bound his goodly sandals, and 
stept forth from his chamber, in presence like a god, and sat 
by Telemachus, and spake and hailed him: 

' To what end hath thy need brought thee hither, hero 
Telemachus, unto fair Lacedaemon, over the broad back 
of the sea? Is it a matter of the common weal or of thine 
own? Herein tell me the plain truth.' 

Then v/ise Telemachus answered him, and said : * Mene- 
laus, son of Atreus, fosterling of Zeus, leader of the host, I 
have come if perchance thou mayest tell me some tidings 
of my father. My dwelling is being devoured and my fat 
lands are ruined, and of unfriendly men my house is full, — 
who slaughter continually my thronging flocks, and my kine 
with trailing feet and shambling gait, — none other than the 
wooers of my mother, despiteful out of measure. So now 
am I come hither to thy knees, if haply thou art willing 
to tell me of his pitiful death, as one that saw it perchance 
with thine own eyes, or heard the story from some other 
wanderer; for his mother bare him to exceeding sorrow. 
And speak me no soft words in ruth or pity, but tell me 
plainly how thou didst get sight of him. Ah, I pray thee, 
if ever at all my father, good Odysseus, made promise to 
thee of word or work and fulfilled the same in the land 
of the Trojans, where ye Achaeans suffered affliction, these 
things, I pray thee, now remember and tell me truth.* 

Then in heavy displeasure spake to him Menelaus of the 
fair hair : * Out upon them, for truly in the bed of a brave- 
hearted man were they minded to He, very cravens as they 



THE ODYSSEY ST 

are ? Even as when a hind hath couched her newborn fawns 
unweaned in a strong lion's lair, and searcheth out the 
mountain knees and grassy hollows, seeking pasture, and 
afterward the lion cometh back to his bed, and sendeth forth 
unsightly death upon that pair, even so shall Odysseus send 
forth unsightly death upon the wooers. Would to our 
father Zeus and Athene and Apollo, would that in such 
might as when of old in stablished Lesbos he rose up and 
Wrestled a match with Philomeleides and threw him mightily, 
and all the Achaeans rejoiced; would that in such strength 
Od3^sseus might consort with the wooers: then should they 
all have swift fate, and bitter wedlock ! But for that 
v/hereof thou askest and entreatest me, be sure I will not 
swerve from the truth in aught that I say, nor deceive thee; 
but of all that the ancient one of the sea, whose speech is 
sooth, declared to me, not a word will I hide or keep from 
thee. 

' In the river Aegyptus,* though eager I was to press on-* 
ward home, the gods they stayed me, for that I had not 
offered them the acceptable sacrifice of hecatombs, and the 
gods ever desired that men should be mindful of their com- 
mandments. Now there is an island in the wash of the 
waves over against Aegyptus, and men call it Pharos, within 
one day's voyage of a hollow ship, when shrill winds blow 
fair in her wake. And therein is a good haven, whence men 
launch the gallant ships into the deep when they have drawn 
a store of deep black water. There the gods held me twenty 
days, nor did the sea-winds ever show their breath, they 
that serve to waft ships over the broad back of the sea. And 
now would all our corn have been spent, and likewise the 
strength of the men, except some goddess had taken pity 
on me and saved me, Eidothee, daughter of mighty Proteus, 
the ancient one of the sea. For most of all I moved her 
heart, when she met me wandering alone apart from my 
company, who were ever roaming round the isle, fishing 
with bent hooks, for hunger vs^as gnawing at their belly. 
So she stood by, and spake, and uttered her voice, saying: 

* "Art thou so very foolish, stranger, and feeble-witted, or 

*The only name for the Nile in Homer. Cf. Wilkinson, Ancient Egyp- 
tians ii&7^)$ vol. i^ p> 7* 



5S HOMER 

art thou wilfully remiss, and hast pleasure in sufferingF 
So long time art thou holden in the isle and canst find no 
issue therefrom, while the heart of thy company faileth 
within them ? " 

* Even so she spake, and I answered her saying : " I will 
speak forth, what goddess soever thou art, and tell thee that 
in no wise am I holden here by mine own will, but it needs 
:3iust be that I have sinned against the deathless gods, who 
keep the wide heaven. Howbeit, do thou tell me— for the 
gods know all things- — which of the immortals it is that 
binds me here and hath hindered me from nay- way, and de- 
clare as touching my returning how I may go over the teem- 
ing deep." 

' So I spake, and straightway the fair goddess made 
answer : " Yea now, sir, I will plainly tell thee all Hither 
resorteth that ancient one of the sea, whose speech is sooth, 
the deathless Egyptian Proteus, who knows the depths of 
every sea, and is the thrall of Poseidon, and who, they say, 
is my father that begat me. If thou couldst but lay an 
ambush and catch him, he will surely declare to thee the way 
and the measure of thy path, and will tell thee of thy return- 
ing, how thou mayest go over the teeming deep. Yea, and 
he will show thee, O fosterling of Zeus, if thou wilt, what 
good thing and what evil hath been wrought in thy halls, 
whilst thou has been faring this long and grievous way." 

' So she spake, but I answered and said unto her : " De- 
vise now thyself the ambush to take this ancient one divine, 
lest by any chance he see me first, or know of my coming, 
and avoid me. For a god is hard for mortal man to quell." 

* So spake I, and straightway the fair goddess made 
answer : " Yea now, sir, I will plainly tell thee all. So often 
as the sun in his course stands high in m.id heaven, then 
forth from the brine comes the ancient one of the sea, whose 
speech is sooth, before the breath of the West Wind he 
comes, and the sea's dark ripple covers him. And when he 
is got forth, he lies down to sleep in the hollow of the caves. 
And around him the seals, the brood of the fair daughter 
of the brine, sleep all in a flock, stolen forth from the grey 
sea water, and bitter is the scent they breathe of the deeps 
©i the salt sea. There will I lead thee at the breaking of the 



THE ODYSSEY 59 

day, and couch you all orderly ; so do thou choose diligently 
three of thy company, the best thou hast in thy decked ships. 
And I will tell thee all the magic arts of that old man. First, 
he will number the seals and go over them, but when he has 
told their tale and beheld them, he will lay him down in the 
midst, as a shepherd mid the sheep of his flock. So soon as 
ever ye shall see him couched, even then mind you of your 
might and strength, and hold him there, despite his eager- 
ness and striving to be free. And he will make assay, and 
take all manner of shapes of things that creep upon the 
earth, of water likewise, and of fierce fire burning. But do 
ye grasp him steadfastly and press him yet the more, and at 
length when he questions thee in his proper shape, as he was 
when first ye saw him laid to rest, then, hero, hold thy 
strong hands, and let the ancient one go free, and ask him 
which of the gods is hard upon thee, and as touching thy 
returning, how thou mayest go over the teeming deep." 

* Therewith she dived beneath the heaving sea, but I be- 
took me to the ships where they stood in the sand, and my 
heart was darkly troubled as I went. But after I had come 
down to the ship and to the sea, and we had made ready our 
supper and immortal night had come on, then did we lay 
us down to rest upon the sea-beach. So soon as early Dawn 
shone forth, the rosy-fingered, in that hour I walked by the 
shore of the wide-wayed sea, praying instantly to the gods; 
and I took with me three of my company, in whom I trusted 
most for every enterprise. 

* Meanwhile, so it was that she had plunged into the 
broad bosom of the sea, and had brought from the deep the 
skins of four sea-calves, and all were newly flayed, for she 
was minded to lay a snare for her father. She scooped lairs 
on the sea-sand, and sat awaiting us, and we drew very nigh 
her, and she made us all lie down in order, and cast a skin 
over each. There would our ambush have been most terri- 
ble, for the deadly stench of the sea-bred seals distressed us' 
sore: nay, who would lay him down by a beast of the sea? 
But herself she wrought deliverance, and devised a great 
comfort. She took ambrosia of a very sweet savour, and 
set it beneath each man's nostril, and did away with the 
stench of the beast. So all the morning we waited with 



60 HOMER 

steadfast heart, and the seals came forth in troops from 
the brine, and then they couched them all orderly by the 
sea-boach. And at high day the ancient one came forth 
from out of the brine, and found his fatted seals, yea and he 
went along their line and told their tale; and first among 
the sea-beasts he reckoned us, and guessed not that there 
was guile, and afterward he too laid him dovv^n. Then we 
rushed upon him with a cry, and cast our hands about him, 
nor did that ancient one forget his cunning. Now behold, 
at the first he turned into a bearded lion, and thereafter into 
a snake, and a pard, and a huge boar ; then he took the shape 
of running water, and of a tall and flowering tree. We the 
while held him close with steadfast heart. But when now 
that ancient one of the magic arts was aweary, then at last 
he questioned me and spake unto me, saying: 

' " Which of the gods was it, son of Atreus, that aided 
thee with his counsel, that thou mightest waylay and take me 
perforce ? What wouldest thou thereby ? " 

* Even so he spake, but I answered him saying : " Old 
man, thou knowest all, wherefore dost thou question me 
thereof with crooked words? For lo, I am holden long time 
in this isle, neither can I find any issue therefrom, and my 
heart faileth within me. Howbeit do thou tell me — for the 
gods know all things — which of the immortals it is that 
bindeth me here, and hath hindered me from my way; and 
declare as touching my returning, how I may go over the 
teeming deep." 

* Even so I spake, and he straightway answered me, say- 
ing: "Nay, surely thou shouldest have done goodly sacrifice 
to Zeus and the other gods ere thine embarking, that with 
most speed thou mightst reach thy country, sailing over 
the wine-dark deep. For it is not thy fate to see thy friends, 
and come to thy stablished house and thine own country, till 
thou hast passed yet again within the waters of Aegyptus, 
the heaven-fed stream, and offered holy hecatombs to the 
deathless gods who keep the wide heaven. So shall the gods 
grant thee the path which thou desirest." 

' So spake he, but my spirit within me was broken, for that 
he bade me again to go to Aegyptus over the misty deep, a 
long and grievous way. 



THE ODYSSEY 61 

* Yet even so I answered him saying : " Old man, all this 
will I do, according to thy word. But come, declare me this, 
and tell it all plainly. Did all those Achaeans return safe 
with their ships, all whom Nestor and I left as we went from 
Troy, or perished any by a shameful death aboard his own 
ship, or in the arms of his friends, after he had wound up 
the clew of war?" 

* So spake I, and anon he answered me, saying : " Son of 
Atreus, why dost thou straitly question me hereof? Nay, it 
is not for thy good to know or learn my thought; for I tell 
thee thou shalt not long be tearless, when thou hast heard 
it all aright. For many of these were taken, and many were 
left; but two only of the leaders of the mail-coated Achaeans 
perished in returning; as for the battle, thou thyself wast 
there. And one methinks is yet alive, and is holden on the 
wide deep, Aias in truth was smitten in the midst of his 
ships of the long oars. Poseidon at first brought him nigh 
to Gyrae, to the mighty rocks, and delivered him from the 
sea. And so he would have fled his doom, albeit hated by 
Athene, had he not let a proud word fall in the fatal dark- 
ening of his heart. He said that in the gods' despite he had 
escaped the great gulf of the sea; and Poseidon heard his 
loud boasting, and presently caught up his trident into his 
strong hands, and smote the rock Gyraean and cleft it in 
twain. And the one part abode in his place, but the other 
fell into the sea, the broken piece whereon Aias sat at the 
first, when his heart was darkened. And the rock bore him 
down into the vast and heaving deep; so there he perished 
when he had drunk of the salt sea water. But thy brother 
verily escaped the fates and avoided them in his hollow 
ships, for queen Hera saved him. But now when he was 
like soon to reach the steep mount of Malea, lo, the storm 
wind snatched him away and bore him over the teeming deep, 
making great moan, to the border of the country whereof 
old Thyestes dwelt, but now Aegisthus abode there, the son 
of Thyestes. But when thence too there showed a good 
prospect of safe returning, and the gods changed the wind 
to a fair gale, and they had reached home, then verily did 
Agamemnon set foot with joy upon his country's soil, and 
as he touched his own land he kissed it, and many were the 



62 HOMER 

hot tears he let fall, for he saw his land and was glad. And 
it was so that the watchman spied him from his tower, the 
watchman whom crafty Aegisthus had led and posted there, 
promising him for a reward two talents of gold. Now he 
kept watch for the space of a year, lest Agamemnon should 
pass by him when he looked not, and mind him of his wild 
prowess. So he went to the house to bear the tidings to the 
shepherd of the people. And straightway Aegisthus con- 
trived a cunning treason. He chose out twenty of the best 
men in the township, and set an ambush, and on the further 
side of the hall he commanded to prepare a feast. Then 
with chariot and horses he went to bid to the feast Aga- 
memnon, shepherd of the people; but caitiff thoughts v^^ere 
in his heart. He brought him up to his house, all unwitting 
of his doom, and when he had feasted him slew him, as one 
slayeth an ox at the stall. And none of the company of 
Atreides that were of his following were left, nor any of 
the men of Aegisthus, but they were all killed in the halls." 

' So spake he, and my spirit within me was broken, and I 
wept as I sat upon the sand, nor was I minded any more to 
live and see the light of the sun. But when I had taken 
my fill of weeping and grovelling on the ground, then spake 
the ancient one of the sea, whose speech is sooth: 

' " No more, son of Atreus, hold this long weeping without 
cease, for w^e shall find no help therein. Rather with all 
haste make essay that so thou mayest come to thine own 
country. For either thou shalt find Aegisthus yet alive, or 
it may be Orestes was beforehand with thee and slew him; 
so mayest thou chance upon his funeral feast." 

* So he spake, and my heart and lordly soul again were 
comforted for all my sorrow, and I uttered my voice and I 
spake to him winged words: 

'"Their fate I now know; but tell me of the third; who 
is it that is yet living and holden on the wide deep, or per- 
chance is dead? and fain would I hear despite my sorrow." 

* So spake I, and straightway he answered, and said : " It 
is the son of Laertes, whose dwelling is in Ithaca; and I 
saw him in an island shedding big tears in the halls of the 
nymph Calypso, who holds him. there perforce; so he may 
not come to his own country, for he has by him no ships 



THE ODYSSEY 63 

with oars, and no companions to send him on his way over 
the broad back of the sea. But thou, Menelaus, son of Zeus, 
art not ordained to die and meet thy fate in Argos, the 
pasture-land of horses, but the deathless gods will convey 
thee to the Elysian plain and the world's end, v/here is 
Rhadamanthus of the fair hair, where life is easiest for 
men. No snow is there, nor yet great storm, nor any rain; 
but always ocean sendeth forth Jht breeze of the shrill West 
to blow cool on men: yea, for thou hast Helen to wife, and 
thereby they deem thee to be son of Zeus." 

' So spake he, and plunged into the heaving sea ; but I be- 
took me to the ships with my godlike com.pany, and my 
heart was darkly troubled as I went. Now after I had come 
down to the ship and to the sea, and had made ready our 
supper, and immortal night had come on, then did we lay us 
to rest upon the sea-beach. So soon as early Dawn shone 
forth, the rosy-fingered, first of all we drew down our ships 
to the fair salt sea and placed the masts and the sails in the 
gallant ships, and the crew too climbed on board, and sat 
upon the benches and smote the grey sea water v/ith their 
oars. Then back I went to the waters of Aegyptus, the 
heaven-fed stream, and there I moored the ships and offered 
the acceptable sacrifice of hecatombs. So when I had ap- 
peased the anger of the everlasting gods, I piled a barrow 
to Agamemnon, that his fame might never be quenched. So 
having fulfilled all, I set out for home, and the deathless 
gods gave me a fair wind, and brought me swiftly to mine 
own dear country. But lo, now tarry in my halls till it shall 
be the eleventh day hence or the twelfth. Then will I send 
thee with all honour on thy way, and give thee splendid 
gifts, three horses and a polished car; and moreover I will 
give thee a goodly chalice, that thou mayest pour forth be- 
fore the deathless gods, and be mindful of me all the days 
of thy life.' 

Then wise Telemachus answered him, saying: 'Son of 
/Atreus, nay, hold me not long time here. Yea even for a 
year would I be content to sit by thee, and no desire for 
home or parents would come upon me ; for I take wondrous 
pleasure in thy tales and talk. But already my company 
wearieth in fair Pylos, and yet thou art keeping me long 



64 HOMER 

time here. And whatsoever gift thou wouldest give me, 
let it be a thing to treasure; but horses I will take none to 
Tthaca, but leave them here to grace thine own house, for 
thou art lord of a wide plain wherein is lotus great plenty, 
and therein is spear-reed and wheat and rye, and white and 
spreading barley. In Ithaca there are no wide courses, nor 
meadow land at all. It is a pasture-land of goats, and more 
pleasant in my sight than one that pastureth horses; for 
of the isles that lie and lean upon the sea, none are fit for 
the driving of horses, or rich in meadow land, and least of 
all is Ithaca.* 

So spake he, and Menelaus, of the loud war cry, smiled, 
and caressed him with his hand, and spake and hailed him: 

'Thou art of gentle blood, dear child, so gentle the words 
thou speakest. Therefore I will make exchange of the 
presents, as I may. Of the gifts, such as are treasures stored 
in my house, I will give thee the goodliest and greatest of 
price. I will giv^e thee a mixing bowl beautifully wrought; 
it is all of silver, and the lips thereof are finished with gold, 
the work of Hephaestus; and the hero Phaedimus, the king 
of the Sidonians, gave it me, when his house sheltered me 
on my coming thither, and to thee now would I give it.' 

Even so they spake one to another, while the guests came 
to the palace of the divine king. They drave their sheep, 
and brought wine that maketh glad the heart of man: and 
their wives with fair tire sent them' wheaten bread. Thus 
were these men preparing the feast in the halls. 

But the wooers meantime were before the palace of 
Odysseus, taking their pleasure in casting of weights and 
spears on a levelled place, as heretofore, in their insolence. 
And Antinous and god-like Eurymachus were seated there, 
the chief men of the wooers, who were far the most excellent 
of all. And Noemon, son of Phromius, drew nigh to them 
and spake unto Antinous and questioned him, saying : 

' Antinous, know we at all, or know we not, when Telem- 
achus will return from sandy Pylos? He hath departed 
with a ship of mine, and I have need thereof, to cross over 
into spacious Elis, where I have twelve brood mares with 
hardy mules unbroken at the teat; I would drive off one of 
these and break him in/ 



THE ODYSSEY 65 

So spake he, and they were amazed, for they deemed not 
that Telemachus had gone to Neleian Pylos, but that he was 
at home somewhere in the fields, whether among the flocks, 
or with the swineherd. 

Then Antinous, son o£ Eupeithes, spake to him in turn: 
* Tell me the plain truth ; when did he go, and what noble 
youths went with him ? Were they chosen men of Ithaca or 
hirelings and thralls of his own? He was in case to bring 
even that about. And tell me this in good sooth, that I may 
know for a surety: did he take thy black ship from thee 
perforce against thy will? or didst thou give it him of free 
will at his entreaty ? * 

Then Noemon, son of Phromius, answered him saying: *I 
gave it him myself of free will. What can any man do, 
when such an one, so bestead with care, begs a favour? it 
were hard to deny the gift. The youths who next to us are 
noblest in the land, even these have gone with him ; and I 
marked their leader on board ship, Mentor, or a god who in 
all things resembled Mentor. But one matter I marvel at: 
I saw the goodly Mentor here yesterday toward dawn, 
though already he had embarked for Pylos.' 

He spake and withal departed to his father's house. And 
the proud spirits of these twain were angered, and they made 
the wooers sit down together and cease from their games. 
And among them spake Antinous, son of Eupeithes, in dis- 
pleasure; and his black heart was wholly filled with rage, 
and his eyes were like flaming fire: 

* Out on him, a proud deed hath Telemachus accomplished 
with a high hand, even this journey, and we thought that he 
would never bring it to pass ! This lad hath clean gone with- 
out more ado, in spite of us all ; his ship he hath let haul to 
the sea, and chosen the noblest in the township. He will 
begin to be our bane even more than heretofore; but may 
Zeus destroy his might, not ours, ere he reach the measure 
of manhood! But come, give me a swift ship and twenty 
men, that I may lie in watch and wait even for him on his 
way home, in the strait between Ithaca and rugged Samos, 
that so he may have a woeful end of his cruising in quest 
of his father/ 

So spake he, and they all assented thereto, and bade him 

C— Vol. 22 HO 



66 HOMER 

to the work. And thereupon they arose and went to the 
house of Odysseus. 

Now it was no long time before Penelope heard of the 
counsel that the wooers had devised in the deep of their 
heart For the henchman Medon told her thereof, who 
stood without the court and heard their purposes, while they 
were weaving their plot within. So he went on his way 
through the halls to bring the news to Penelope; and as he 
stept down over the threshold, Penelope spake unto him: 

'Henchman, wherefore have the noble wooers sent thee 
forth? Was it to tell the handmaids of divine Odysseus 
to cease from their work, and prepare a banquet for them? 
Nay, after thus much wooing, never again may they come 
together, but here this day sup for their last and latest 
time; all ye who assemble so often, and waste much liveli- 
hood, the wealth of wise Telemachus ! Long ago when ye 
were children ye marked not your fathers telling what man- 
ner of man was Odysseus among them, one that wrought no 
iniquity toward any man, nor spake aught unrighteous in 
the township, as is the wont of divine kings. One man a 
king is like to hate, another he might chance to love. But 
never did he do aught at all presumptuously to any man. 
Nay, it is plain what spirit ye are of, and your unseemly 
deeds are manifest to all, nor is there any gratitude left 
for kindness done." 

Then Medon, wise of heart, answered her: 'Would, oh 
queen, that this were the crowning evil ! But the wooers 
devise another far greater and more grievous, which I pray 
the son of Cronos may never fulfil ! They are set on slay- 
ing Telemachus with the edge of the sword on his home- 
ward way; for he is gone to fair Pylos and goodly Lace- 
daemon, to seek tidings of his father.' 

So spake he, but her knees were loosened where she 
stood, and her heart melted within her, and long time was 
she speechless, and lo, her eyes were filled with tears and 
the voice of her utterance was stayed. And at the last she 
answered him and said: 

* Henchman, wherefore I pray thee is my son departed? 
There is no need that he should go abroad on swift ships, 
that serve men for horses on the sea, and that cross iixQ 



THE ODYSSEY 67 

great wet waste. Is it that even his own name may no 
more be left upon earth ? ' 

Then Medon, wise of heart, answered her : ' I know not 
whether some god set him on, or whether his own spirit 
stirred him to go to Pylos to seek tidings of his father's 
return, or to hear what end he met/ 

He spake, and departed through the house of Odysseus, 
and on her fell a cloud of consuming grief; so that she 
might no more endure to seat her on a chair, whereof there 
were many in the house, but there she crouched on the 
threshold of her well-builded chamber, wailing piteously, 
and her handmaids round her made low moan, as many as 
were in the house with her, young and old. And Penelope 
spake among them pouring forth her lamentation : 

' Hear me, my friends, for the Olympian sire hath given 
mie pain exceedingly beyond all women who were born and 
bred in my day. For erewhile I lost mj noble lord of the 
lion heart, adorned with all perfection among the Danaans, 
my good lord, whose fame is noised abroad from Hellas to 
mid Argos. And now again the storm-winds have snatched 
away my well-beloved son without tidings from our halls, 
nor heard I of his departure. Oh, women, hard of heart, 
that even ye did not each one let the thought come into your 
minds, to rouse me from my couch when he went to the 
black hollow ship, though ye knew full well thereof! For 
had I heard that he was purposing this journey, verily he 
should have stayed here still, though eager to be gone, or 
have left me dead in the halls. Howbeit let some one make 
haste to call the ancient Dolius, my thrall, whom my father 
gave me ere yet I had come hither, who keepeth my garden 
of trees. So shall he go straightway and sit by Laertes, and 
tell him all, if perchance Laertes may weave some counsel 
in his heart, and go forth and make his plaint to the people, 
who are purposed to destroy his seed, and the seed of god- 
like Odysseus.' 

Then the good nurse Eurycleia answered her : ' Dear lady, 
aye, slay me if thou wilt with the pitiless sword or let me 
yet live on in the house, — ^yet will I not hide my saying 
from thee. I knew all this, and gave him whatsoever he 
commanded, bread and sweet wine. And he took a great 



68 HOMER! 

oath of me not to tell thee till at least the twelfth day should 
come, or thou thyself shouldst miss him. and hear of his 
departure, that thou mightest not mar thy fair flesh with 
thy tears. But now, wash thee in water, and take to thee 
clean raiment and ascend to thy upper chamber with the 
women thy handmaids, and pray to Athene, daughter of 
Zeus, lord of the aegis. For so may she save him even from 
death. And heap not troubles on an old man's trouble; 
for the seed of the son of Arceisius, is not, methinks, 
utterly hated by the blessed gods, but someone will haply 
yet remain to possess these lofty halls, and the fat fields 
far away.' 

So spake she, and lulled her queen's lamentation, and 
made her eyes to cease from weeping. So she washed her 
in water, and took to her clean raiment, and ascended to the 
upper chamber with the women her handmaids, and placed 
the meal for sprinkling in a basket, and prayed unto 
Athene : 

* Hear me, child of Zeus, lord of the aegis, unwearied 
maiden ! If ever wise Odysseus in his halls burnt for thee 
fat slices of the thighs of heifer or of sheep, these things, 
I pray thee, now remember, and save my dear son, and ward 
from him the wooers in the naughtiness of their pride.' 

Therewith she raised a cry, and the goddess heard her 
prayer. But the wooers clamoured through the shadowy 
halls, and thus would some proud youth say : 

' Verily this queen of many wooers prepareth our mar- 
riage, nor knoweth at all how that for her son death hath 
been ordained.' 

Thus would certain of them speak, but they knew not how 
these things were ordained. And Antinous made harangue 
and spake among them : 

* Good sirs, my friends, shun all disdainful words alike, 
lest someone hear and tell it even in the house. But come 
let us arise, and in silence accomplish that whereof we 
spake, for the counsel pleased us every one.' 

Therewith he chose twenty men that were the best, and 
they departed to the swift ship and the sea-banks. So first 
of all they drew the ship down to the deep water, and placed 
the mast and sails in the black ship, and fixed the oars in 



THE ODYSSEY 69 

leathern loops all orderly, and spread forth the white sails. 
And squires, haughty of heart, bare for them their arms. 
And they moored her high out in the shore water, and them- 
selves disembarked. There they supped and waited for 
evening to come on. 

But the wise Penelope lay there in her upper chamber, 
fasting and tasting neither meat nor drink, musing whether 
her noble son should escape death, or even fall before the 
proud wooers. And as a lion broods all in fear among the 
press of men, when they draw the crafty ring around him, 
so deeply was she musing when deep sleep came over 
her. And she sank back in sleep and all her joints were 
loosened. 

Now the goddess, grey-eyed Athene, turned to other 
thoughts. She made a phantom, and fashioned it after the 
likeness of a woman, Iphthime, daughter of great-hearted 
Icarius, whom Eumelus wedded, whose dwelling was in 
Pherae. And she sent it to the house of divine Odysseus to 
bid Penelope, amid her sorrow and lamenting, to cease from 
her weeping and tearful lamentation. So the phantom passed 
into the chamber by the thong of the bolt, and stood above 
her head and spake unto her, saying : 

* Sleepest thou, Penelope, stricken at heart? Nay, even 
the gods who live at ease suffer thee not to wail or be 
afflicted, seeing that thy son is yet to return; for no sinner 
is he in the eyes of the gods/ 

Then wise Penelope made her answer as she slumbered 
very softly at the gates of dreams : 

* Wherefore, sister, hast thou come hither, that before 
wert not wont to come, for thou hast thine habitation very 
far away? Biddest thou me indeed to cease from the sor- 
rows and pains, so many that disquiet my heart and soul? 
Erewhile I lost my noble lord of the lion heart, adorned 
with all perfection among the Danaans, my true lord, whose 
fame is noised abroad from Hellas to mid Argos. And now, 
again, my well-beloved son is departed on his hollow ship, 
poor child, not skilled in toils or in the gatherings of men. 
For him I sorrow yet more than for my lord, and I tremble 
and fear for him lest aught befal him, whether, it may be, 
amid that folk where he is gone, or in the deep. For many 



70 HOMER 

foemen devise evil against him, and go about to kill him, or 
ever he come to his own country/ 

And the dim phantom answered her, and said : * Take 
courage, and be not so sorely afraid. For lo, such a friend 
goes to guide him, as all men pray to stand by them, for 
that she hath the power, even Pallas Athene. And she 
pitieth thee in thy sorrow, and now hath sent me forth to 
speak these words to thee.' 

And wise Penelope answered her, saying : * If thou art 
indeed a god, and hast heard the word of a god, come, I 
pray thee, and tell me tidings concerning that ill-fated man, 
whether perchance he is yet alive and sees the light of the 
sun, or hath already died, and is a dweller in the house of 
Hades/ 

And the dim phantom answered her and said : ' Concern- 
ing him I will not tell thee all the tale, whether he be alive 
or dead; it is ill to speak words light as wind.' 

Therewith the phantom slipped away by the bolt of the 
door and passed into the breath of the wind. And the daugh- 
ter of Icarius started up from sleep; and her heart was 
cheered, so clear was the vision that sped toward her in the 
dead of the night. 

Meanwhile the wooers had taken ship and were sailing 
over the wet ways, pondering in their hearts sheer death for 
Telemachus. Now there is a rocky isle in the mid sea, mid- 
way between Ithaca and rugged Samos, Asteris, a little isle; 
and there is a harbour therein with a double entrance, where 
ships may ride. There the Achaeans abode lying in wait for 
Telemachus, 



BOOK Y 

The Gods in council command Calypso by Hermes to send away 
Odysseus on a raft of trees; and Poseidon, returning from Ethiopia 
and seeing him on the coast of Phaeacia, scattered his raft ; and how 
by the help of Ino he was thrown ashore, and slept on a heap of 
dry leaves till the next day. 

NOW the Dawn arose from her couch, from the side 
of the lordly Tithonus, to bear light to the immortals 
and to mortal men. And lo, the gods were gathering 
to session, and among them Zeus, that thunders on high, 
whose might is above all. And Athene told them the tale 
of the many woes of Odysseus, recalling them to mind; 
for near her heart was he that then abode in the dwelling 
of the nymph : 

* Father Zeus, and all ye other blessed gods that live for 
ever, henceforth let not any sceptred king be kind and gen- 
tle with all his heart, nor minded to do righteously, but let 
him alway be a hard man and work unrighteousness, for 
behold, there is none that remembereth divine Odysseus of 
the people whose lord he was, and was gentle as a father. 
Howbeit, as for him he lieth in an island suffering strong 
pains, in the halls of the nymph Calypso, who holdeth him 
perforce; so he may not reach his own country, for he hath 
no ships by him with oars, and no companions to send him 
on his way over the broad back of the sea. And now, 
again, they are set on slaying his beloved son on his home- 
ward way, for he is gone to fair Pylos and to goodly 
Lacedaemon, to seek tidings of his father.* 

And Zeus, gatherer of the clouds, answered and spake 
unto her: *My child, what word hath escaped the door of 
thy lips? Nay, didst thou not thyself plan this device, that 
Odysseus may assuredly take vengeance on those men at his 
coming? As for Telemachus, do thou guide him by thine 
art, as well thou mayest, that so he may come to his own 

71 



72 HOMER 

country all unharmed, and the wooers may return in their 
ship with their labour all in vain/ 

Therewith he spake to Hermes, his dear son : ' Hermes, 
forasmuch as even in all else thou art our herald, tell unto 
the nymph of the braided tresses my unerring counsel, even 
the return of the patient Odysseus, how he is to come to 
his home, with no furtherance of gods or of mortal men. 
Nay, he shall sail on a well-bound raft, in sore distress, and 
on the twentieth day arrive at fertile Scheria, even at the 
land of the Phaeacians, who are near of kin to the gods. 
And they shall give him all worship heartily as to a god, 
and send him on his way in a ship to his own dear country, 
with gifts of bronze and gold, and raiment in plenty, much 
store, such as never would Odysseus have won for himself 
out of Troy, yea, though he had returned unhurt with the 
share of the spoil that fell to him. On such wise is he fated 
to see his friends, and come to his high-roofed home and 
his own country/ 

So spake he, nor heedless was the messenger, the slayer 
of Argos. Straightway he bound beneath his feet his lovely 
golden sandals, that wax not old, that bare him alike over 
the wet sea and over the limitless land, swift as the breath 
of the wind. And he took the wand wherewith he lulls the 
eyes of whomso he will, while others again he even wakes 
from out of sleep. With this rod in his hand flew the 
strong slayer of Argos. Above Pieria he passed and leapt 
from the upper air into the deep. Then he sped along the 
wave like the cormorant, that chaseth the fishes through 
the perilous gulfs of the unharvested sea, and wetteth his 
thick plumage in the brine. Such like did Hermes ride upon 
the press of the waves. But when he had now reached that 
far-off isle, he went forth from the sea of violet blue to get 
him up into the land, till he came to a great cave, wherein 
dwelt the nymph of the braided tresses: and he found her 
within. And on the hearth there was a great fire burning, 
and from afar through the isle was smelt the fragrance of 
cleft cedar blazing, and of sandal wood. And the nymph 
within was singing with a sweet voice as she fared to and fro 
before the loom, and wove with a shuttle of gold. And 
round about the cave there was a wood blossoming, alder 



THE ODYSSEY 73 

and poplar and sweet-smelling cypress. And therein roosted 
birds long of wing, owls and falcons and chattering sea- 
crows, which have their business in the waters. And lo, 
there about the hollow cave trailed a gadding garden vine, 
all rich with clusters. And fountains four set orderly were 
running with clear water, hard by one another, turned each 
to his own course. And all around soft meadows bloomed 
of violets and parsley, yea, even a deathless god who came 
thither might wonder at the sight and be glad at heart. 
There the messenger, the slayer of Argos, stood and won- 
dered. Now when he had gazed at all with wonder, anon 
he went into the wide cave; nor did Calypso, that fair god- 
dess, fail to know him, when she saw him face to face; for 
the gods use not to be strange one to another, the immortals, 
not though one have his habitation far away. But he found 
not Odysseus, the greathearted, within the cave, who sat 
weeping on the shore even as aforetime, straining his soul 
with tears and groans and griefs, and as he wept he looked 
wistfully over the unharvested deep. And Calypso, that fair 
goddess, questioned Hermes, when she had made him sit 
on a bright shining seat: 

* Wherefore, I pray thee, Hermes, of the golden wand, 
hast thou come hither, worshipful and welcome, whereas as 
of old thou wert not wont to visit me? Tell me all thy 
thought; my heart is set on fulfilling it, if fulfil it I may, and 
if it hath been fulfilled in the counsel of fate. But now 
follow me further, that I may set before thee the entertain- 
ment of strangers.' 

Therewith the goddess spread a table with ambrosia and 
set it by him, and mixed the ruddy nectar. So the mes- 
senger, the slayer of Argos, did eat and drink. Now after 
he had supped and comforted his soul with food, at the last 
he answered, and spake to her on this wise: 

' Thou makest question of me on my coming, a goddess 
of a god, and I will tell thee this my saying truly, at thy com- 
mand. 'Twas Zeus that bade me come hither, by no will 
of mine; nay, who of his free will would speed over such 
a wondrous space of brine, whereby is no city of mortals 
that do sacrifice to the gods, and offer choice hecatombs? 
But surely it is in no wise possible for another god to go 



74 HOMER 

beyond or to make void the purpose of Zeus, lord of the aegis= 
He saith that thou hast with thee a man most wretched 
beyond his fellows, beyond those men that round the burg of 
Priam for nine years fought, and in the tenth year sacked 
the city and departed homeward. Yet on the way they 
sinned against Athene, and she raised upon them an evil 
blast and long waves of the sea. Then all the rest of his 
good company was lost, but it came to pass that the wind 
bare and the wave brought him hither. And now Zeus bid- 
deth thee send him hence with what speed thou mayest, 
for it is not ordained that he die away from his friends, but 
rather it is his fate to look on them even yet, and to come 
to his high-roofed home and his own country.' 

So spake he, and Calypso, that fair goddess, shuddered 
and uttered her voice, and spake unto him winged words: 
' Hard are ye gods and jealous exceeding, who ever grudge 
goddesses openly to mate with men, if any make a mortal 
her dear bed-fellow. Even so when rosy-jfingered Dawn 
took Orion for her lover, ye gods that live at ease were 
jealous thereof, till chaste Artemis, of the golden throne, 
slew him in Ortygia with the visitation of her gentle shafts. 
So too when fair-tressed Demeter yielded to her love, and 
lay with lasion in the thrice-ploughed fallow-field, Zeus was 
not long without tidings thereof, and cast at him with his 
white bolt and slew him. So again ye gods now grudge 
that a mortal man should dwell with me. Him I saved as he 
went all alone bestriding the keel of a bark, for that Zeus had 
crushed^ and cleft his swift ship with a white bolt in the 
midst of the wine-dark deep. There all the rest of his good 
company was lost, but it came to pass that the wind bare 
and the wave brought him hither. And him have I loved 
and cherished, and I said that I would make him to know 
not death and age for ever. Yet forasmuch as it is in 
no wise possible for another god to go beyond, or make void 
the purpose of Zeus, lord of the aegis, let him away over the 
unharvested seas, if the summons and the bidding be of 
Zeus. But I will give him no despatch, not I, for I have 
no ships by me with oars, nor company to bear him on his 

*■ It seems very doubtful whether iXeras can bear this meaning. The 
reading eAao-as, ' smote,' preserved by the Schol. is highly probable. 



THE ODYSSEY 75 

way over the broad back of the sea. Yet will I be forward 
to put this in his mind, and will hide nought, that all un- 
harmed he may come to his own country/ 

Then the messenger, the slayer of Argos, answered her: 
'Yea, speed him now upon his path and have regard unto 
the wrath of Zeus, lest haply he be angered and bear hard 
on thee hereafter.' 

Therewith the great slayer of Argos departed, but the 
lady nymph went on her way to the great-hearted Odysseus, 
when she had heard the message of Zeus. And there she 
found him sitting on the shore, and his eyes were never 
dry of tears, and his sweet life was ebbing away as he 
mourned for his return; for the nymph no more found 
favour in his sight. Howsoever by night he would sleep 
by her, as needs he must, in the hollow caves, unwilling 
lover by a willing lady. And in the day-time he would sit 
on the rocks and on the beach, straining his soul with tears, 
and groans, and griefs, and through his tears he would 
look wistfully over the unharvested deep. So standing near 
him that fair goddess spake to him : 

* Hapless man, sorrow no more I pray thee in this isle, 
nor let thy good life waste away, for even now will I send 
thee hence with all my heart. Nay, arise and cut long beams, 
and fashion a wide raft with the axe, and lay deckings high 
thereupon, that it may bear thee over the misty deep. And 
I will place therein bread and water, and red wine to thy 
heart's desire, to keep hunger far away. And I will put rai- 
ment upon thee, and send a fair gale in thy wake, that so thou 
mayest come all unharmed to thine own country, if indeed 
it be the good pleasure of the gods who hold wide heaven, 
who are stronger than I am both to will and to do.' 

So she spake, and the steadfast goodly Odysseus shud- 
dered, and uttering his voice spake to her winged words: 
* Herein, goddess, thou hast plainly some other thought, and 
in no wise my furtherance, for that thou biddest me to cross 
in a raft the great gulf of the sea so dread and difficult, 
which not even the swift gallant ships pass over rejoicing 
in the breeze of Zeus. Nor would I go aboard a raft to 
displeasure thee, unless thou wilt deign, O goddess, to swear 
a great oath not to plan any hidden guile to mine own hurt/ 



76 HOMER 

So spake he, and Calypso, the fair goddess, smiled and 
caressed him with her hand, and spake and hailed him: 

' Knavish thou art, and no weakling* in wit, thou that 
hast conceived and spoken such a word. Let earth be now 
witness hereto, and the wide heaven above, and that falling 
water of the Styx, the greatest oath and the most terrible 
to the blessed gods, that I will not plan any hidden guile 
to thine own hurt. Nay, but my thoughts are such, and 
such will be my counsel, as I would devise for myself, if 
ever so sore a need came over me. For I too have a 
righteous mind, and my heart within me is not of iron, but 
pitiful even as thine.' 

Therewith the fair goddess led the way quickly, and he 
followed hard in the steps of the goddess. And they reached 
the hollow cave, the goddess and the man; so he sat him 
down upon the chair v/hence Hermes had arisen, and the 
nymph placed by him all manner of food to eat and drink, 
such as is meat for men. As for her she sat over against 
divine Odysseus, and the handmaids placed by her ambrosia 
and nectar. So they put forth their hands upon the good 
cheer set before them. But after they had taken their fill of 
meat and drink, Calypso, the fair goddess, spake first and said: 

* Son of Laertes, of the seed of Zeus, Odysseus of many 
devices, so it is indeed thy wish to get thee home to thine 
own dear country even in this hour? Good fortune go 
with thee even so ! Yet didst thou know in thine heart what 
a measure of suffering thou art ordained to fulfil, or ever 
thou reach thine own country, here, even here, thou wouldst 
abide with me and keep this house, and wouldst never taste 
of death, though thou longest to see thy wife, for whom 
thou hast ever a desire day by day. Not in sooth that I 
avow m^e to be less noble than she in form or fashion, for it 
is in no wise meet that mortal women should match them 
with im.mortals, in shape and comeliness.' 

And Odysseus of many counsels answered, and spake 
unto her : ' Be not wroth with me hereat, goddess and queen. 
Myself I know it well, how wise Penelope is meaner to 
look upon than thou, in comeliness and stature. But she is 

8 a7ro(^wA.tos, from root <f>v, * ill-grown,' \. e. a weakling, in the liter^ 
sense as B. xi. 249, xiv. 212, or metaphorical, as here and viii. 177, 



THE ODYSSEY 77 

mortal and thou knowest not age nor death. Yet even so, I 
wish and long day by day to fare homeward and see the 
day of my returning. Yea, and i£ some god shall wreck me 
in the wine-dark deep, even so I will endure, with a heart 
within me patient of affliction. For already have I suffered 
full much, and much have I toiled in perils of waves and 
war; let this be added to the tale of those.' 

So spake he, and the sun sank and darkness came on. 
Then they twain went into the chamber of the hollow rock, 
and had their delight of love, abiding each by other. 

So soon as early Dawn shone forth, the rosy-fingered, anon 
Odysseus put on him a mantle and doublet, and the nymph 
clad her in a great shining robe, light of woof and gracious, 
and about her waist she cast a fair golden girdle, and a veil 
withal upon her head. Then she considered of the sending 
of Odysseus, the great-hearted. She gave him a great axe, 
fitted to his grasp, an axe of bronze double-edged, and 
with a goodly handle of olive wood fastened well. Next 
she gave him a polished adze, and she led the way to the 
border of the isle where tall trees grew, alder and poplar, 
and pine that reacheth unto heaven, seasoned long since 
and sere, that might lightly float for him. Now after she 
had shown him where the tall trees grew. Calypso, the fair 
goddess, departed homeward. And he set to cutting timber, 
and his work went busily. Twenty trees in all he felled, 
and then trimmed them with the axe of bronze, and deftly 
smoothed them, and over them made straight the line. Mean- 
while Calypso, the fair goddess, brought him augers, so he 
bored each piece and jointed them together, and then made 
all fast with trenails and dowels. Wide as is the floor of 
a broad ship of burden, which some man well skilled in 
carpentry may trace him out, of such beam did Odysseus 
fashion his broad raft. And thereat he wrought, and set 
up the deckings, fitting them to the close-set uprights, and 
finished them off with long gunwales, and there he set a 
mast, and a yard arm fitted thereto, and moreover he made 
him a rudder to guide the craft. And he fenced it with 
wattled osier withies from stem to stern, to be a bulwark 
against the wave, and piled up wood to back them. Mean- 
while Calypso, the fair goddess, brought him web of cloth 



78 HOMER 

to make him sails ; and these too he fashioned very skilfully. 
And he made fast therein braces and halyards and sheets, 
and at last he pushed the raft with levers down to the fair 
salt sea. 

It was the fourth day when he had accomplished all. 
And, lo, on the fifth, the fair Calypso sent him on his way 
from the island, when she had bathed him and clad him in 
fragrant attire. Moreover, the goddess placed on board the 
ship two skins, one of dark wine, and another, a great one, 
of water, and corn too in a wallet, and she set therein a 
store of dainties to his heart's desire, and sent forth a warm 
and gentle wind to blow. And goodly Odysseus rejoiced as 
he set his sails to the breeze. So he sate and cunningly 
guided the craft with the helm, nor did sleep fall upon his 
eyelids, as he viewed the Pleiads and Bootes, that setteth 
late, and the Bear, v/hich they likewise call the Wain, which 
turneth ever in one place, and keepeth watch upon Orion, 
and alone hath no part in the baths of Ocean. This star. 
Calypso, the fair goddess, bade him to keep ever on the left 
as he traversed the deep. Ten days and seven he sailed 
traversing the deep, and on the eighteenth day appeared the 
shadowy hills of the land of the Phaeacians,at the point where 
it lay nearest to him; and it showed like a shield in the 
misty deep. 

Now the lord, the shaker of the earth, on his way from 
the Ethiopians espied him afar off from the mountains of 
the Solymi: even thence he saw Odysseus as he sailed over 
the deep; and he was mightily angered in spirit, and shak- 
ing his head he communed with his own heart. * Lo now, 
it must be that the gods at the last have changed their 
purpose concerning Odysseus, while I was away among the 
Ethiopians. And now he is nigh to the Phaeacian land, 
where it is ordained that he escape the great issues of the 
woe which hath come upon him. But, methinks, that even 
yet I will drive him far enough in the path of suffering/ 

With that he gathered the clouds and troubled the waters 
of the deep, grasping his trident in his hands ; and he roused 
all storms of all manner of ^vinds, and shrouded in clouds 
the land and sea: and down sped night from heaven. The 
East Wifid and the Soiith Wind clashed, and the stormy 



THE ODYSSEY 79 

West, and the North, that is born in the bright air, rolling 
onward a great wave. Then were the knees of Odysseus 
loosened and his heart melted, and heavily he spake to his 
own great spirit: 

' Oh, wretched man that I am ! what is to bef al me at the 
last? I fear that indeed the goddess spake all things truly, 
who said that I should fill up the measure of sorrow on the 
deep, or ever I came to mine own country ; and lo, all these 
things have an end. In such wise doth Zeus crown the 
wide heaven with clouds, and hath troubled the deep, and 
the blasts rush on of all the winds ; yea, now is utter doom 
assured me. Thrice blessed those Danaans, yea, four times 
blessed, who perished on a time in wide Troy-land, doing a 
pleasure to the sons of Atreus ! Would to God that I too 
had died, and met my fate on that day when the press of 
Trojans cast their bronze-shod spears upon me, fighting for 
the body of the son of Peleus ! So should I have gotten my 
dues of burial, and the Achaeans would have spread my 
fame; but now it is my fate to be overtaken by a pitiful 
death.' 

Even as he spake, the great wave smote down upon him, 
driving on in terrible wise, that the raft reeled again. And 
far therefrom he fell, and lost the helm from his hand; and 
the fierce blast of the jostling winds came and brake his 
mast in the midst, and sail and yard-arm fell afar into the 
deep. Long time the water kept him under, nor could he 
speedily rise from beneath the rush of the mighty wave : for 
the garments hung heavy which fair Calypso gave him. 
But late and at length he came up, and spat forth from his 
mouth the bitter salt water, which ran down in streams 
from his head. Yet even so forgat he not his raft, for all 
his wretched plight, but made a spring after it in the waves, 
and clutched it to him, and sat in the midst thereof, avoiding 
the issues of death; and the great wave swept it hither and 
thither along the stream. And as the North Wind in the 
harvest tide sweeps the thistle-down along the plain, and 
close the tufts cling each to other, even so the winds bare 
the raft hither and thither along the main. Now the South 
would toss it to the North to carry, and now again'the East would 
yield it to the West to chase. 



80 HOMER 

But the daughter of Cadmus marked him, Ino of the fair 
ankles, Leucothea, who in time past was a maiden of mortal 
speech, but now in the depths of the salt sea she had gotten 
her share of worship from the gods. She took pity on 
Odysseus in his wandering and travail, and she rose, like a 
sea-gull on the wing, from the depth of the mere, and sat 
upon the well-bound raft and spake saying: 

* Hapless one, wherefore was Poseidon, shaker of the 
earth, so wondrous wroth with thee, seeing that he soweth 
for thee the seeds of many evils? Yet shall he not make 
a full end of thee, for all his desire. But do even as I tell 
thee, and methinks thou art not witless. Cast off these gar- 
ments, and leave the raft to drift before the winds, but do 
thou swim with thine hands and strive to win a footing on 
the coast^ of the Phaeacians, where it is decreed that thou 
escape. Here, take this veil imperishable and wind it about 
thy breast; so is there no fear that thou suffer aught or 
perish. But when thou hast laid hold of the mainland with 
thy hands, loose it from off thee and cast it into the wine- 
dark deep far from the land, and thyself turn away.' 

With that the goddess gave the veil, and for her part dived 
back into the heaving deep, like a sea-gull: and the dark 
wave closed over her. But the steadfast, goodly Odysseus 
pondered, and heavily he spake to his own brave spirit : 

*Ah, woe is me ! Can it be that some one of the immor- 
tals is weaving a new snare for me, that she bids me quit my 
raft? Nay verily, I will not yet obey, for I had sight of the 
shore yet a long way off, where she told me that I might 
escape. I am resolved what I will do ; — and methinks on this 
w^ise it is best. So long as the timbers abide in the dowels, 
so long will I endure steadfast in affliction, but so soon as 
the wave hath shattered my raft asunder, I will swim, for 
meanwhile no better counsel may be.' 

While yet he pondered these things in his heart and soul, 
Poseidon, shaker of the earth, stirred against him a great 
wave, terrible and grievous, and vaulted from the crest, and 
therewith smote him. And as when a great tempestuous 

s Lit. Strive after an arrival on the land, etc. vocrros originally meant 
going, journeying, and had no idea of return. The earlier use survives 
here, and in Soph. Philoct. 43, Eur. Iph. Aul. 1261. Similarly, perhaps, 
voo-retj' in Odyssey iv. 619, xv. 119, and vieaQai frequently. 



THF, ODYSSEY 81 

wind tosseth a heap of parched husks, and scatters them this 
way and that, even so did the wave scatter the long beams of 
the raft. But Odysseus bestrode a single beam, as one 
rideth on a courser, and stript him of the garments which 
fair Calypso gave him. And presently he wound the veil 
beneath his breast, and fell prone into the sea, outstretching 
his hands as one eager to swim. And the lord, the shaker 
of the earth, saw him and shook his head, and communed 
with his own soul. ' Even so, after all thy sufferings, go wan- 
dering over the deep, till thou shalt come among a people, 
the fosterlings of Zeus. Yet for all that I deem not that 
thou shalt think thyself too lightly afflicted.' Therewith he 
lashed his steeds of the flowing manes, and came to Aegae, 
where is his lordly home. 

But Athene, daughter of Zeus, turned to new thoughts. 
Behold, she bound up the courses of the other winds, and 
charged them^ all to cease and be still; but she roused the 
swift North and brake the waves before him that so 
Odysseus, of the seed of Zeus, might mingle with the 
Phaeacians, lovers of the oar, avoiding death and the fates. 

So for two nights and two days he was wandering in the 
swell of the sea, and much his heart boded of death. But 
when at last the fair-tressed Dawn brought the full light of 
the third day, thereafter the breeze fell, and lo, there was a 
breathless calm, and with a quick glance ahead, (he being 
upborne on a great wave,) he saw the land very near. And 
even as when most welcome to his children is the sight of a 
father's life, who lies in sickness and strong pains long 
wasting away, some angry god assailing him; and to their 
delight the gods have loosed him from his trouble; so wel- 
come to Odysseus showed land and wood; and he swam 
onward, being eager to set foot on the strand. But when he 
was within earshot of the shore, and heard now the thunder 
of the sea against the reefs — for the great wave crashed 
against the dry land belching in terrible wise, and all was 
covered with foam of the sea, — for there were no harbours 
for ships nor shelters, but jutting headlands and reefs and 
cliffs, then at last the knees of Odysseus were loosened and 
his heart melted, and in heaviness he spake to his own brave 
spirit : 



%l HOMER 

*Ah me? now that beyond all hope Zeus hath given me 
sight of land, and withal I have cloven my way through this 
gulf of the sea, here there is no place to land on from out of 
the grey water. For without are sharp crags, and round 
them the wave roars surging, and sheer the smooth rock 
rises, and the sea is deep thereby, so that in no wise may I 
find firm foothold and escape my bane, for as I fain would 
go ashore, the great wave may haply snatch and dash me 
on the jagged rock— and a wretched endeavour that would 
6e. But if I swim yet further along the coast to find, if I 
may, spits that take the waves aslant and havens of the sea, 
I fear lest the storm-wind catch me again and bear me 
over the teeming deep, making heavy moan; or else some 
god may even send forth against me a monster from out 
of the shore water; and many such pastureth the renowned 
Amphitrite. For I know how wroth against me hath been 
the great Shaker of the Earth/ 

Whilst yet he pondered these things in his heart and 
mind, a great wave bore him to the rugged shore. There 
would he have been stript of his skin and all his bones been 
broken, but that the goddess, grey-eyed Athene, put a 
thought into his heart. He rushed in, and with both his 
hands clutched the rock, whereto he clung till the great 
wave went by. So he escaped that peril, but again with 
backward wash it leapt on him and smote him and cast him 
forth into the deep. And as when the cuttlefish is dragged 
forth from his chamber, the many pebbles clinging to his 
suckers, even so was the skin stript from his strong hand 
against the rocks, and the great wave closed over him. 
There of a truth would luckless Odysseus have perished 
beyond that which was ordained, had not grey-eyed Athene 
given him sure counsel. He rose from the line of the break- 
ers that belch upon the shore, and swam outside, ever look- 
ing landwards, to find, if he might, spits that take the waves 
aslant, and havens of the sea. But when he came in his 
swimming over against the mouth of a fair-flowing river 
whereby the place seemed best in his eyes, smooth of rocks, 
and withal there was a covert from the wind, Odysseus felt 
the river running, and prayed to him in his heart : 

*Hear m^, king, whosoever thou art; unto thee am I 



THE ODYSSEY 83 

Come, as to one to whom prayer is made, while I flee the 
rebukes of Poseidon from the deep. Yea, reverend even to 
the deathless gods is that man who comes as a wanderer, 
even as I now have come to thy stream and to thy knees 
after much travail. Nay pity me, O king; for I avow 
myself thy suppliant/ 

So spake he, and the god straightway stayed his stream 
and withheld his waves, and made the water smooth before 
him, and brought him safely to the mouths of the river. 
And his knees bowed and his stout hands fell, for his heart 
was broken by the brine. And his flesh was all swollen and 
a great stream of sea water gushed up through his mouth 
and nostrils. So he lay without breath or speech, swooning, 
such terrible weariness came upon him. But when now his 
breath returned and his spirit came to him again, he loosed 
from off him the veil of the goddess, and let it fall into the 
salt flowing river. And the great wave bare it back down 
the stream, and lightly Ino caught it in her hands. Then 
Odysseus turned from the river, and fell back in the reeds, 
and kissed earth, the grain-giver, and heavily he spake unto 
his own brave spirit: 

* Ah, woe is me! what is to betide me? what shall happen 
unto me at the last? If I watch the river bed all through 
the careful night, I fear that the bitter frost and fresh dew 
may overcome me, as I breathe forth my life for faintnesSs 
for the river breeze blows cold betimes in the morning. But 
if I climb the hill-side up to the shady wood, and there take 
rest in the thickets, though perchance the cold and weariness 
leave hold of me, and sweet sleep may come over me, I fear 
lest of wild beasts I become the spoil and prey.* 

So as he thought thereon this seemed to him the better 
way. He went up to the wood, and found it nigh the water 
in a place of wide prospect. So he crept beneath twin 
bushes that grew from one stem, both olive trees, one of 
them wild olive. Through these the force of the wet winds 
blew never, neither did the bright sun light on it with his 
rays, nor could the rain pierce through, so close were they 
twined either to other; and thereunder crept Odysseus and 
anon he heaped together with his hands a broad couch; for 
of fallen leaves there was great plenty, enough to cover two 



84 HOMER 

or three men in winter time, however hard the weather. 
And the steadfast goodly Odysseus beheld it and rejoiced, 
and he laid him in the midst thereof and flung over him 
the fallen leaves. And as when a man hath hidden away a 
brand in the black embers at an upland farm, one that hath 
no neighbours nigh, and so saveth the seed of fire, that he 
may not have to seek a light otherwhere, even so did 
Odysseus cover him with the leaves. And Athene shed sleep 
upon his eyes, that so it might soon release him from his 
wear^ travail, overshadowing his eyelids^ 



BOOK VI 

Nausicaa, going to a river near that place to wash the clothes of 
Iier father, mother, and brethren, while the clothes were drying 
played with her maids at ball ; and Odysseus coming forth is fed 
and clothed, and led on his way to the house of her father, King 
Alcinous. 

SO there he lay asleep, the steadfast goodly Odysseus, 
fordone with toil and drowsiness. Meanwhile Athene 
went to the land and the city of the Phaeacians, who 
of old, upon a time, dwelt in spacious Hypereia; near the 
Cyclopes they dwelt, men exceeding proud, who harried 
them continually, being mightier than they. Thence the 
godlike Nausithous made them depart, and he carried them 
away, and planted them in Scheria, far off from men that 
live by bread. And he drew a wall around the town, and 
builded houses and made temples for the gods and meted 
out their fields. Howbeit ere this had he been stricken by 
fate, and had gone down to the house of Hades, and now 
Alcinous was reigning, with wisdom granted by the gods. 
To his house went the goddess, grey-eyed Athene, devising 
a return for the great-hearted Odysseus. She betook her 
to the rich-wrought bower, wherein was sleeping a maiden 
like to the gods in form and comeliness, Nausicaa, the 
daughter of Alcinous, high of heart. Beside her on either 
hand of the pillars of the door were two handmaids, dow- 
ered with beauty from the Graces, and the shining doors 
were shut. 

But the goddess, fleet as the breath of the wind, swept 
towards the couch of the maiden, and stood above her head, 
and spoke to her in the semblance of the daughter of a 
famous seafarer, Dymas, a girl of like age with Nausicaa, 
who had found grace in her sight. In her shape the grey- 
eyed Athene spake to the princess, saying: 

'Nausicaa, how hath thy mother so heedless a maiden to 

85 



86 HOMER 

her daughter? Lo, thou hast shining raiment that lies by 
thee uncared for, and thy marriage-day is near at hand, 
when thou thyself must needs go beautifully clad, and have 
garments to give to them who shall lead thee to the house of 
the bridegroom ! And, behold, these are the things whence 
a good report goes abroad among men, wherein a father 
and lady mother take delight. But come, let us arise and 
go a-washing with the breaking of the day, and I will follow 
with thee to be thy mate in the toil, that without delay thou 
mayst get thee ready, since truly thou art not long to be a 
maiden. Lo, already they are wooing thee, the noblest 
youths of all the Phaeacians, among that people whence thou 
thyself dost draw thy lineage. So come, beseech thy noble 
father betimes in the morning to furnish thee with mules 
and a wain to carry the men's raiment, and the robes, and 
the shining coverlets. Yea and for thyself it is seemlier far 
to go thus than on foot, for the places where we must wash 
are a great way off the town.' 

So spake the grey-eyed Athene, and departed to Olympus, 
where, as they say, is the seat of the gods that standeth fast 
for ever. Not by winds is it shaken, nor ever wet with rain, 
nor doth the snow come nigh thereto, but most clear air is 
spread about it cloudless, and the white light floats over it. 
Therein the blessed gods are glad for all their days, and 
thither Athene went when she had shown forth all to the 
maiden. 

Anon came the throned Dawn, and awakened Nausicaa 
of the fair robes, who straightway marvelled on the dream, 
and went through the halls to tell her parents, her father 
dear and her mother. And she found them within, her 
mother sitting by the hearth with the women her handmaids, 
spinning yarn of sea-purple stain, but her father she met as 
he was going forth to the renowned kings in their council, 
whither the noble Phaeacians called him. Standing close by 
her dear father she spake, saying : * Father, dear, couldst 
thou not lend me a high waggon with strong wheels, that I 
may take the goodly raiment to the river to wash, so much 
as I have lying soiled? Yea and it is seemly that thou thy- 
self, when thou art with the princes in council, shouldest 
have fresh raiment to wear. Also, there are five dear sons 



THE ODYSSEY 87 

of thine m the halls, two married, but three are lusty bach- 
elors, and these are always eager for new-washen garments 
v/herein to go to the dances; for all these things have I 
taken thought/ 

This she said, because she was ashamed to speak of glad 
marriage to her father ; but he saw all and answered, saying : 

' Neither the mules nor aught else do I grudge thee, my 
child. Go thy ways, and the thralls shall get thee ready a 
high waggon with good wheels, and fitted with an upper 
frame/ 

Therewith he called to his men, and they gave ear, and 
without the palace they made ready the smooth-running 
mule-wain, and led the mules beneath the yoke, and har- 
nessed them under the car, while the maiden brought forth 
from her bower the shining raiment. This she stored in the 
polished car, and her mother filled a basket with all manner 
of food to the heart's desire, dainties too she set therein, 
and she poured wine into a goat-skin bottle, while Nausicaa 
climbed into the wain. And her mother gave her soft olive 
oil also in a golden cruse, that she and her maidens might anoint 
themselves after the bath. Then Nausicaa took the whip 
and the shining reins, and touched the mules to start them; 
then there was a clatter of hoofs, and on they strained with- 
out flagging, with their load of the raiment and the maiden. 
Not alone did she go, for her attendants followed with her. 

Now when they were come to the beautiful stream of 
the river, where truly were the unfailing cisterns, and bright 
water welled up free from beneath, and flowed past, enough 
to wash the foulest garments clean, there the girls unhar- 
nessed the mules from under the chariot, and turning them 
loose they drove them along the banks of the eddying river 
to graze on the honey-sweet clover. Then they took the 
garments from the wain, in their hands, and bore them to 
the black water, and briskly trod them down in the trenches, 
in busy rivalry. Now when they had washed and cleansed 
all the stains, they spread all out in order along the shore of 
the deep, even where the sea, in beating on the coast, washed 
the pebbles clean. Then having bathed and anointed them 
well with olive oil, they took their mid-day meal on the 
river's bank, waiting till the clothes should dry in the bright- 



3g HOMER 

ness o£ the sun. Anon, when they were satisfied with food, 
the maidens and the princess, they fell to playing at ball, 
casting away their tires, and among them Nausicaa of the 
white arms began the song. And even as Artemis, the 
archer, moveth down the mountain, either along the ridges 
of lofty Taygetus or Erymanthus, taking her pastime in the 
chase of boars and swift deer, and with her the wild wood- 
nymphs disport them, the daughters of Zeus, lord of the 
aegis, and Leto is glad at heart, while high over all she rears 
her head and brows, and easily may she be known, — ^but all 
are fair; even so the girl unwed outshone her maiden 
company. 

But when now she was about going homewards, after 
yoking the mules and folding up the goodly raiment, then 
grey-eyed Athene turned to other thoughts, that so Odysseus 
might awake, and see the lovely maiden, who should be his 
guide to the city of the Phaeacian men. So then the princess 
threw the ball at one of her company; she missed the girl, 
and cast the ball into the deep eddying current, whereat 
they all raised a piercing cry. Then the goodly Odysseus 
awoke and sat up, pondering in his heart and spirit: 

*Woe is me! to what men's land am I come now? say, 
are they froward, and wild, and unjust, or are they hospit- 
able, and of God-fearing mind ? How shrill a cry of maidens 
rings round me, of the nymphs that hold the steep hill-tops, 
and the river-springs, and the grassy water meadows ! It 
must be, methinks, that I am near men of human speech. 
Go to, I myself will make trial and see.' 

Therewith the goodly Odysseus crept out from under the 
coppice, having broken with his strong hand a leafy bough 
from the thick wood, to hold athwart his body, that it might 
hide his nakedness withal. And forth he sallied like a lion 
mountain-bred, trusting in his strength, who fares out blown 
and rained upon, with flaming eyes; amid the kine he goes 
or amid the sheep or in the track of the wild deer; yea, his 
belly bids him go even to the good homestead to make assay 
upon the flocks. Even so Odysseus was fain to draw nigh 
to the fair-tressed maidens, all naked as he was, such need 
had come upon him. But he was terrible in their eyes, being 
marred with the salt sea foam, and they fled cowering here 



THE ODYSSEY 89 

end there about the jutting spits of shore. And the daughter 
of Alcinous alone stood firm, for Athene gave her courage 
of heart, and took all trembling from her limbs. So she 
halted and stood over against him, and Odysseus considered 
whether he should clasp the knees of the lovely maiden, and 
so make his prayer, or should stand as he was, apart, and 
beseech her with smooth words, if haply she might show 
him the town, and give him raiment. And as he thought 
within himself, it seemed better to stand apart, and beseech 
her with smooth words, lest the maiden should be angered 
with him if he touched her knees: so straightway he spake 
a sweet and cunning word : 

* I supplicate thee, O queen, whether thou art a goddess or 
a mortal ! If indeed thou art a goddess of them that keep 
the wide heaven; to Artemis, then, the daughter of great 
Zeus, I mainly liken thee, for beauty and stature and shape- 
liness. But if thou art one of the daughters of men who 
dwell on earth, thrice blessed are thy father and thy lady 
mother, and thrice blessed thy brethren. Surely their souls 
ever glow with gladness for thy sake, each time they see thee 
entering the dance, so fair a flower of maidens. But he is of 
heart the most blessed beyond all other who shall prevail 
Vv^ith gifts of wooing, and lead thee to his home. Never have 
mine eyes beheld such an one among mortals, neither man 
nor woman; great awe comes upon me as I look on thee. 
Yet in Delos once I saw as goodly a thing: a young sapling 
of a palm tree springing by the altar of Apollo. For thither 
too I went, and much people with me, on that path where 
my sore troubles were to be. Yea, and when I looked there- 
upon, long time I marvelled in spirit, — for never grew there 
yet so goodly a shoot from ground, — even in such wise as 
I wonder at thee, lady, and am astonied and do greatly 
fear to touch thy knees, though grievous sorrow is upon me. 
Yesterday, on the twentieth day, I escaped from the wine- 
Sark deep, but all that time continually the wave bare me, 
and the vehement winds drave, from the isle Ogygia. And 
now some god has cast me on this shore, that here too, 
methinks, some evil may betide me; for I trow not that 
trouble will cease ; the gods ere that time will yet bring many 
a thing to pass. But, queen, have pit}^ on me, for after many 



90 HOMER 

trials and sore to thee first of all am I come, and of the other 
folk, who hold this city, and land, I know no man. Nay 
show me the town, give me an old garment to cast about me, 
if thou hadst, when thou camest here, any wrap for the 
linen. And may the gods grant thee all thy heart's desire: 
a husband and a home, and a mind at one with his may 
they give — a good gift, for there is nothing mightier and 
nobler than when man and wife are of one heart and mind 
in a house, a grief to their foes, and to their friends great 
joy, but their own hearts know it best.' 

Then Nausicaa of the white arms answered him, and 
said : ' Stranger, forasmuch as thou seemest no evil man nor 
foolish — and it is Olympian Zeus himself that giveth weal to 
men, to the good and to the evil, to each one as he will, and 
this thy lot doubtless is of him, and so thou must in anywise 
endure it: — and now, since thou hast come to our city and 
our land, thou shalt not lack raiment, nor aught else that is 
the due of a hapless suppliant, when he has met them who 
can befriend him. And I will show thee the town, and 
name the name of the people. The Phaeacians hold this 
city and land, and I am the daughter of Alcinous, great of 
heart, on whom all the might and force of the Phaeacians 
depend.' 

Thus she spake, and called to her maidens of the fair 
tresses : * Halt, my maidens, whither flee ye at the sight of a 
man? Ye surely do not take him for an enemy? That 
mortal breathes not, and never will be born, who shall come 
with war to the land of the Phaeacians, for they are very 
dear to the gods. Far apart we live in the v>^ash of the 
waves, the outermost of men, and no other mortals are con- 
versant with us. Nay, but this man is some helpless one 
come hither in his wanderings, whom now we must kindly 
entreat, for all strangers and beggars are from Zeus, and a 
little gift is dear. So, my maidens, give the stranger meat 
and drink, and bathe him in the river, where withal is a 
shelter from the winds.' 

So she spake, but they had halted and called each to the 
other, and they brought Odysseus to the sheltered place, and 
made him sit down, as Nausicaa bade them, the daughter of 
Alcinous, high of heart. Beside him they laid a mantle, and 



THE ODYSSEY 91 

a doublet for raiment, and gave him soft olive oil in the 
golden cruse, and bade him wash in the streams of the river. 
Then goodly Odysseus spake among the maidens, saying: 
* I pray you stand thus apart, while I myself wash the brine 
from my shoulders, and anoint me with olive oil, for truly 
oil is long a stranger to my skin. But in your sight I will 
not bathe, for I am ashamed to make me naked in the com- 
pany of fair-tressed maidens.' 

Then they went apart and told all to their lady. But with 
the river water the goodly Odysseus washed from his skin 
the salt scurf that covered his back and broad shoulders, and 
from his head he wiped the crusted brine of the barren sea. 
But when he had washed his whole body, and anointed him 
with olive oil, and had clad himself in the raiment that the 
unwedded maiden gave him, then Athene, the daughter of 
Zeus, made him greater and more mightly to behold, and from 
his head caused deep curling locks to flow, like the hyacinth 
flower. And as when some skilful man overlays gold upon 
silver — one that Hephaestus and Pallas Athene have taught 
all manner of craft, and full of grace is his handiwork — even 
so did Athene shed grace about his head and shoulders. 

Then to the shore of the sea went Odysseus apart, and 
sat down, glowing in beauty and grace, and the princess 
marvelled at him, and spake among her fair-tressed maidens, 
saying : 

* Listen, my white-armed maidens, and I will say some- 
what. Not without the will of all the gods who hold 
Olympus hath this man come among the godhke Phaeacians. 
Erewhile he seemed to me uncomely, but now he is like the 
gods that keep the wide heaven. Would that such an one 
might be called my husband, dwelling here, and that it might 
please him here to abide! But come, my maidens, give the 
stranger meat and drink.' 

Thus she spake, and they gave ready ear and hearkened, 
and set beside Odysseus meat and drink, and the steadfast 
goodly Odysseus did eat and drink eagerly, for it was long 
since he had tasted food. 

Now Nausicaa of the white arms had another thought. 
She folded the raiment and stored it in the goodly wain, and 
yoked the mules strong of hoof, and herself climbed into the 



92 HOMER 

car. Then she called on Odysseus, and spake and hailed 
him : * Up now, stranger, and rouse thee to go to the city, 
that I may convey thee to the house of my wise father, 
where, I promise thee, thou shalt get knowledge of all the 
noblest of the Phaeacians. But do thou even as I tell thee, 
and thou seemest a discreet man enough. So long as we 
are passing along the fields and farms of men, do thou fare 
quickly with the maidens behind the mules and the chariot, 
and I will lead the way. But when we set foot within the 
city, — whereby goes a high wall with towers, and there is a 
fair haven on either side of the town, and narrow is the 
entrance, and curved ships are drawn up on either hand of 
the mole, for all the folk have stations for their vessels, each 
man one for himself. And there is the place of assembly 
about the goodly temple of Poseidon, furnished with heavy 
stones, deep bedded in the earth. There men look to the gear 
of the black ships, hawsers and sails, and there they fine 
down the oars. For the Phaeacians care not for bow nor 
quiver, but for masts, and oars of ships, and gallant barques, 
wherein rejoicing they cross the grey sea. Their ungracious 
speech it is that I would avoid, lest some man afterward 
rebuke me, and there are but too many insolent folk among 
the people. And some one of the baser sort might meet me 
and say : " Who is this that goes with Nausicaa, this tall and 
goodly stranger? Where found she him? Her husband he 
will be, her very own. Either she has taken in some ship- 
wrecked wanderer of strange men, — for no men dwell near 
us; or some god has come in answer to her instant prayer; 
from heaven has he descended, and will have her to wife for 
evermore. Better so, if herself she has ranged abroad and 
found a lord from a strange land, for verily she holds in no 
regard the Phaeacians here in this country, the many men 
and noble who are her wooers." So will they speak, and this 
would turn to my reproach. Yea, and I myself would think it 
blame of another maiden who did such things in despite of 
her friends, her father and mother being still alive, and was 
conversant with men before the day of open wedlock. But, 
stranger, heed well what I say, that as soon as may be thou 
mayest gain at my father's hands an escort and a safe return. 
Thou shalt find a fair grove of Athene, a poplar grove near 



THE ODYSSEY 93 

the road, and a spring wells forth therein, and a meadow lies 
all around. There is my father's demesne, and his fruitful 
close, within the sound of a man's shout from the city. Sit 
thee down there and wait until such time as we may have 
come into the city, and reached the house of my father. But 
when thou deemest that we are got to the palace, then go up 
to the city of the Phaeacians, and ask for the house of my 
father Alcinous, high of heart. It is easily known, and a 
young child could be thy guide, for nowise like it are builded 
the houses of the Phaeacians, so goodly is the palace of the 
hero Alcinous. But when thou art within the shadow of the 
halls and the court, pass quickly through the great chamber, 
till thou comest to my mother, who sits at the hearth in the 
light of the fire, weaving yarn of sea-purple stain, a wonder 
to behold. Her chair is leaned against a pillar, and her 
maidens sit behind her. And there my father's throne leans 
close to hers, wherein he sits and drinks his wine, like an 
immortal. Pass thou by him, and cast thy hands about my 
mother's knees, that thou mayest see quickly and wath joy 
the day of thy returning, even if thou art from a very far 
country. If but her heart be kindly disposed toward thee, 
then is there hope that thou shalt see thy friends, and come 
to thy well-builded house, and to thine own country.' 

She spake, and smote the mules with the shining whip, 
and quickly they left behind them the streams of the river. 
And well they trotted and well they paced, and she took 
heed to drive in such wise that the maidens and Odysseus 
might follow on foot, and cunningly she plied the lash. 
Then the sun set, and they came to the famous grove, the 
sacred place of Athene; so there the goodly Odysseus sat 
him down. Then straightway he prayed to the daughter of 
mighty Zeus : ' Listen to me, child of Zeus, lord of the 
aegis, unwearied maiden; hear me even now, since before 
thou heardest not when I was smitten on the sea, when the 
renowned Earth Shaker smote me. Grant me to come to 
the Phaeacians as one dear, and worthy of pity.' 

So he spake in prayer, and Pallas Athene heard him; but 
she did not yet appear to him face to face, for she had 
regard unto her father's brother, who furiously raged against 
the godlike Odysseus, till he should come to his own country. 



BOOK VII 

Odyssews being received at the house of the king Alcinous, the 
queen after supper, taking notice of his garments, gives him occasion 
to relate his passage thither on the raft. Alcinous promises him a 
convoy for the morrow. 

O he prayed there, the steadfast goodly Odysseus, while 
the two strong mules bare the princess to the town. 
And when she had now come to the famous palace of 
her father, she halted at the gateway, and round her gathered 
her brothers, men like to the immortals, and they loosed the 
mules from under the car, and carried the raiment within. 
But the maiden betook her to her chamber; and an aged 
dame from Aperaea kindled the fire for her, Eurymedusa, 
the handmaid of the chamber, whom the curved ships upon 
a time had brought from Aperaea; and men chose her as 
a prize for Alcinous, seeing that he bare rule over all the 
Phaeacians, and the people hearkened to him as to a god. 
She waited on the white-armed Nausicaa in the palace halls ; 
she was wont to kindle the fire and prepare the supper in 
the inner chamber. 

At that same hour Odysseus roused him to go to the city, 
and Athene shed a deep mist about Odysseus for the favour 
that she bare him, lest any of the Phaeacians, high of heart, 
should meet him and mock him in sharp speech, and ask 
him who he was. But when he was now about to enter the 
pleasant city, then the goddess, grey-eyed Athene, met him, 
in the fashion of a young maiden carrying a pitcher, and she 
stood over against him, and goodly Odysseus inquired of her: 

* My child, couldst thou not lead me to the palace of the 
lord Alcinous, who bears sway among this people? Lo, I 
am come here, a stranger travel-worn from afar, from a 
distant land; wherefore of the folk who possess this city and 
country I know not any man.* 

Then the goddess, grey-eyed Athene, answered him say- 

94 



THE ODYSSEY 95 

ing: 'Yea now, father and stranger, I will show thee the 
house that thou bidst me declare, for it lies near the palace 
of my noble father ; behold, be silent as thou goest, and I will 
lead the way. And look on no man, nor question any. For 
these men do not gladly suffer strangers, nor lovingly entreat 
whoso cometh from a strange land. They trust to the speed 
of their swift ships, wherewith they cross the great gulf, for 
the Earth-shaker hath vouchsafed them this power. Their 
ships are swift as the flight of a bird, or as a thought.' 

Therewith Pallas Athene led the way swiftly, and he fol- 
lowed hard in the footsteps of the goddess. And it came to 
pass that the Phaeacians, mariners renowned, marked him 
not as he went down the city through their midst, for the fair- 
tressed Athene suffered it not, that awful goddess, who shed 
a wondrous mist about him, for the favour that she bare him 
in her heart. And Odysseus marvelled at the havens and the 
gallant ships, yea and the places of assembly of the heroes, 
and the long high walls crowned with palisades, a marvel to 
behold. But when they had now come to the famous palace 
of the king, the goddess, grey-eyed Athene, spake first and 
said : 

* Lo, here, father and stranger, is the house that thou 
wouldst have me show thee: and thou shalt find kings at 
the feast, the fosterlings of Zeus; enter then, and fear not 
in thine heart, for the dauntless man is the best in every 
adventure, even though he comes from a strange land. Thou 
shalt find the queen first in the halls: Arete is the name 
whereby men call her, and she came even of those that begat 
the king Alcinous. First Nausithous was son of Poseidon, 
the Earth-shaker, and of Periboea, the comeliest of women, 
youngest daughter of great-hearted Eurymedon, who once 
was king among the haughty Giants. Howbeit, he de- 
stroyed his infatuate people, and was himself destroyed; 
but Poseidon lay with Periboea and begat a son, proud 
Nausithous, who sometime was prince among the Phaeacians ; 
and Nausithous begat Rhexenor and Alcinous. While 
Rhexenor had as yet no son, Apollo of the silver bow smote 
him, a groom new wed, leaving in his halls one only child 
Arete; and Alcinous took her to wife, and honoured her 
as no other woman in the world is honoured, of all that 



96 HOMER 

now-a-days keep house under the hand of their lords. Thus 
she hath, and hath ever had, all worship heartily from her 
dear children and from her lord Alcinous and from all the 
folk, who look on her as on a goddess, and greet her with 
reverend speech, when she goes about the town. Yea, for 
she too hath no lack of understanding. To whomso she 
shows favour, even if they be men, she ends their feuds.^ 
If but her heart be kindly disposed to thee, then is there 
good hope that thou mayest see thy friends, and come to thy 
high-roofed home and thine own country.' 

Therewith grey-eyed Athene departed over the unhar- 
vested seas, and left pleasant Scheria, and came to Marathon 
and wide-wayed Athens, and entered the good house of 
Erechtheus. Meanwhile Odysseus went to the famous palace 
of Alcinous, and his heart was full of many thoughts as he 
stood there or ever he had reached the threshold of bronze. 
For there was a gleam as it were of sun or moon through 
the high-roofed hall of great-hearted Alcinous. Brazen were 
the walls which ran this way and that from the threshold to 
the inmost chamber, and round them v/as a frieze of blue, 
and golden were the doors that closed in the good house. 
Silver were the door-posts that were set on the brazen thres- 
hold, and silver the lintel thereupon, and the hook of the door 
was of gold. And on either side stood golden hounds and 
silver, which Hephaestus wrought by his cunning, to guard 
the palace of great-hearted Alcinous, being free from death 
and age all their days. And within were seats arrayed against 
the wall this way and that, from the threshold even to the 
inmost chamber, and thereon were spread light coverings 
finely woven, the handiwork of women. There the Phaeacian 
chieftains were wont to sit eating and drinking, for they had 
continual store. Yea, and there were youths fashioned in 
gold, standing on firm-set bases, with flaming torches in their 
hands, giving light through the night to the feasters in the 
palace. And he had fifty handmaids In the house, and some 
grind the yellow grain on the millstone, and others weave 
webs and turn the yarn as they sit, restless as the leaves 
of the tall poplar tree: and the soft olive -dII drops off that 

*• V. 1. J70-11'. And jEor the women she favours, she ends the feuds ol 

their lords also„ 



THE ODYSSEY 97 

linen, so closely is it woven. For as the Phaeacian men are 
skilled beyond all others in driving a swift ship upon the 
deep, even so are the women the most cunning at the loom, 
for Athene hath given them notable wisdom in all fair handi- 
work and cunning wit. And without the courtyard hard by 
the door is a great garden, of four ploughgates, and a hedge 
runs round on either side. And there grovv^ tall trees blossom- 
ing, pear-trees and pomegranates, and apple-trees with bright 
fruit, and sweet figs, and olives in their bloom. The fruit of 
these trees never perisheth neither faileth, winter nor sum- 
mer, enduring through all the year. Evermore the West 
Wind blowing brings some fruits to birth and ripens others. 
Pear upon pear waxes old, and apple on apple, yea and 
cluster ripens upon cluster of the grape, and fig upon fig. 
There too hath he a fruitful vineyard planted, whereof the 
one part is being dried by the heat, a sunny plot on level 
ground, while other grapes men are gathering, and yet others 
they are treading in the wine-press. In the foremost row are 
imripe grapes that cast the blossom, and others there be that 
are growing black to vintaging. There too, skirting the 
furthest line, are all manner of garden beds, planted trimly, 
that are perpetually fresh, and therein are two fountains of 
water, whereof one scatters his streams all about the garden, 
and the other runs over against it beneath the threshold of 
the courtyard, and issues by the lofty house, and thence did 
the townsfolk draw water. These were the splendid gifts of 
the gods in the palace of Alcinous. 

There the steadfast goodly Odysseus stood and gazed. But 
when he had gazed at all and wondered, he passed quickly 
over the threshold within the house. And he found the cap- 
tains and the counsellors of the Phaeacians pouring forth 
wine to the keen-sighted god, the slayer of Argos ; for to him 
they poured the last cup when they v/ere minded to take rest. 
Now the steadfast goodly Odysseus v/ent through the hall, 
clad in a thick mist, which Athene shed around him, till he 
came to Arete and the king Alcinous. And Odysseus cast 
his hands about the knees of Arete, and then it was that the 
wondrous mist melted from off him, and a silence fell on them 
that were within the house at the sight of him, and they mar- 
velled as they beheld him. Then Odysseus began his prayer : 

D — ^vol. 22 HO 



m HOMER 

'Arete, daughter o£ god-like Rhexenor, after many toils 
am I come to thy husband and to thy knees and to these 
guests, and may the gods vouchsafe them a happy life, and 
may each one leave to his 'children after him his substance 
in his halls and whatever dues of honour the people have 
rendered unto him. But speed, I pray you, my parting, that 
I may come the more quickly to mine own country, for 
already too long do I suffer affliction far from my friends/ 

Therewith he sat him down by the hearth in the ashes at 
the fire, and behold, a dead silence fell on all. And at the 
last the ancient lord Echeneus spake among them, an elder 
of the Phaeacians, excellent in speech and skilled in much 
wisdom of old time. With good will he made harangue and 
spake among them : 

'Alcinous, this truly is not the more seemly way, nor is it 
fitting that the stranger should sit upon the ground in the 
ashes by the hearth, while these men refrain them, v/aiting 
thy word. Nay com.e, bid the stranger arise, and set him on 
a chair inlaid with silver, and command the henchmen to 
mix the wine, that we may pour forth likewise before Zeus, 
whose joy is in the thunder, who attendeth upon reverend 
suppliants. And let the housewife give supper to the stranger 
out of such stores as be within.' 

Now when the mighty king Alcinous heard this saying, he 
took Odysseus, the wise and crafty, by the hand, and raised 
him from the hearth, and set him on a shining chair, whence 
he bade his son give place, valiant Laodamas, who sat next 
him and was his dearest. And a handmaid bare water for 
the hands in a goodly golden ewer, and poured it forth over 
a silver basin to wash withal, and drew to his side a polished 
table. And a grave dame bare wheaten bread and set it by 
him and laid upon the board many dainties, giving freely 
of such things as she had by her. So the steadfast goodly 
Odysseus did eat and drink; and then the mighty Alcinous 
spake unto the henchman : 

* Pontonous, mix the bowl and serve out the wine to all 
in the hall, that we may pour forth likewise before Zeus, 
whose joy is in the thunder, who attendeth upon reverend 
suppliants.* 

So spake he, and Pontonous mixed the honey;-hearted winQ, 



THE ODYSSEY 99 

and served it out to all, when he had poured for libation into 
each cup in turn. But when they had poured forth and had 
drunken to their heart's content, Alcinous made harangue and 
spake among them: 

* Hear me, ye captains and counsellors of the Phaeacians, 
that I may speak as my spirit bids me. Now that the feast 
is over, go ye home and lie down to rest ; and in the morning 
we will call yet more elders together, and entertain the 
stranger in the halls and do fair sacrifice to the gods, and 
thereafter we will likewise bethink us of the convoy, that so 
without pain or grief yonder stranger may by our convoy 
reach his own country speedily and with joy, even though he 
be from very far away. So shall he suffer no hurt or harm 
in mid passage, ere he set foot on his own land; but there- 
after he shall endure such things as Fate and the stern 
spinning women drew off the spindles for him at his birth 
when his mother bare him. But if he is some deathless god 
come down from heaven, then do the gods herein imagine 
some new device against us. For always heretofore the 
gods appear manifest amongst us, whensoever we offer 
glorious hecatombs, and they feast by our side, sitting at the 
same board ; yea, and even if a wayfarer going all alone has 
met with them, they use no disguise, since we are near of 
kin to them, even as are the Cyclopes and the wild tribes of 
the Giants.' 

And Odysseus of many counsels answered him, saying: 
'Alcinous, that thought be far from thee! for I bear no 
likeness either in form or fashion to the deathless gods, who 
keep wide heaven, but to men that die. Whomsoever ye 
know of human kind the heaviest laden with sorrow, to 
them might I liken myself in my griefs. Yea, and I might 
tell of yet other woes, even the long tale of toil that by the 
gods* will I endured. But as for me, suffer me to sup, 
afflicted as I am ; for nought is there more shameless than a 
ravening belly, which biddeth a man perforce be mindful of 
him, though one be worn and sorrowful in spirit, even as I 
have sorrow of heart; yet evermore he biddeth me eat and 
drink and maketh me utterly to forget all my sufferings, and 
commandeth me to take my fill. But do ye bestir you at 
the breaking of the day, that so ye ma^ set me, hapless as 



100 HOMER 

I am, upon my country's soil, albeit after much suffering. 
Ah, and may life leave me when I have had sight of mine 
own possessions, my thralls, and my dwelling that is great 
and high ! ' 

So spake he, and they all assented thereto, and bade send 
the stranger on his way, for that he had spoken aright. Now 
when they had poured forth and had drunken to their hearts' 
content, they went each one to his house to lay them to rest. 
But goodly Odysseus was left behind in the hall, and by him 
sat Arete and godlike Alcinous; and the maids cleared away 
the furniture of the feast ; and white-armed Arete first spake 
among them. For she knew the mantle and the doublet, 
when she saw the goodly raiment that she herself had 
wrought with the women her handmaids. So she uttered 
her voice and spake to him winged words : 

' Sir, I am bold to ask thee first of this. Who art thou 
of the sons of men, and whence? Who gave thee this rai- 
ment? Didst thou not say indeed that thou camest hither 
wandering over the deep ? ' 

Then Odysseus of many counsels answered her, and said: 
* 'Tis hard, O queen, to tell my griefs from end to end, for 
that the gods of heaven have given me griefs in plenty. But 
this will I declare to thee, whereof thou dost question and 
inquire. There is an isle, Ogygia, that lies far off in the 
sea; there dwells the daughter of Atlas, crafty Calypso, of 
the braided tresses, an awful goddess, nor is any either of 
gods or mortals conversant with her. Howbeit, some god 
brought me to her hearth, wretched man that I am, all alone, 
for that Zeus with white bolt crushed my swift ship and 
cleft it in the midst of the wine-dark deep. There all the 
rest of my good comj)any was lost, but I clung with fast em- 
brace about the keel of the curved ship, and so was I borne 
for nine whole days. And on the tenth dark night the gods 
brought me nigh the isle Ogygia, where Calypso of the 
braided tresses dwells, an awful goddess. She took me in, 
and with all care she cherished me and gave me sustenance, 
and said that she v/ould make me to know not death nor age 
foj all my days ; but never did she win my heart within me. 
There I abode for seven years continually, and watered with 
my tears the imperishable raiment that Calypso gave me. 



THE ODYSSEY 101 

But when the eighth year came round in his course, then 
at last she urged and bade me to be gone, by reason of a 
message from Zeus, or it may be that her own mind was 
turned. So she sent me forth on a well-bound raft, and gave 
me plenteous store, bread and sweet wine, and she clad me 
in imperishable raiment, and sent forth a warm and gentle 
wind to blow. For ten days and seven I sailed, traversing 
the deep, and on the eighteenth day the shadowy hills of 
your land showed in sight, and my heart was glad — 
wretched that I was — for surely I was still to be the mate of 
much sorrow. For Poseidon, shaker of the earth, stirred 
up the same, who roused against me the winds and stopped 
my way, and made a wondrous sea to swell, nor did the 
wave suffer me to be borne upon my raft, as I made ceaseless 
moan. Thus the storm winds shattered the raft, but as for 
me I cleft my way through the gulf yonder, till the wind 
bare and the water brought me nigh your coast. Then as 
I strove to land upon the shore, the wave had overwhelmed 
me, dashing me against the great rocks and a desolate 
place, but at length I gave way and swam back, till I came 
to the river, where the place seemed best in mine eyes, 
smooth of rocks, and withal there was a shelter from the 
wind. And as I came out I sank down, gathering to me 
my spirit, and immortal night came on. Then I gat me 
forth and away from the heaven-fed river, and laid me to 
sleep in the bushes and strewed leaves about me, and the 
god shed over me infinite sleep. There among the leaves 
I slept, stricken at heart, all the night long, even till the 
morning and mid-day. And the sun sank when sweet sleep 
let me free. And I was aware of the company of thy daugh- 
ter disporting them upon the sand, and there was she in the 
midst of them like unto the goddesses. To her I made my 
supplication, and she showed no lack of a good understand- 
ing, behaving, so as thou couldst not hope for in chancing 
upon one so young; for the younger folk lack wisdom 
always. She gave me bread enough and red wine, and let 
wash me in the river and bestowed on me these garments. 
Herein, albeit in sore distress, have I told thee all the truth.' 
And Alcinous answered again, and spake saying : ' Sir, 
surely this was no right thought of my daughter, in that 



102 HOMER 

she brought thee not to our house with the women her 
handmaids, though thou didst first entreat her grace/ 

And Odysseus of many counsels answered, and said unto 
him : * My lord, chide not, I pray thee, for this the blame- 
less maiden. For indeed she bade me follow with her 
company, but I would not for fear and very shame, lest per- 
chance thine heart might be clouded at the sight; for a 
jealous race upon the earth are we, the tribes of men/ 

And Alcinous ansv/ered yet again, and spake saying : ' Sir, 
my heart within me is not of such temper as to have been 
wroth without a cause: due measure in all things is best. 
Would to father Zeus, and Athene, and Apollo, would that 
so goodly a man as thou art, and like-minded with me, thou 
Nvouldst wed my daughter, and be called my son, here abid- 
ing: so would I give thee house and wealth, if thou wouldst 
stay of thine own will : but against thy will shall none of the 
Phaeacians keep thee: never be this well-pleasing in the 
eyes of father Zeus ! And now I ordain an escort for thee 
on a certain day, that thou mayst surely know, and that day 
the morrow. Then shalt thou lay thee down overcome by 
sleep, and they the while shall smite the calm waters, till thou 
come to thy country and thy house, and whatsoever place 
is dear to thee, even though it be much farther than Euboea, 
which certain of our men say is the farthest' of lands, they 
who saw it, when they carried Rhadamanthus, of the fair 
hair, to visit Tityos, son of Gaia. Even thither they went, 
and accomplished the journey on the self -same day and won 
home again, and were not weary. And now shalt thou know 
for thyself how far my ships are the best, and how my 
young men excel at tossing the salt water with the oar- 
blade.* 

So spake he, and the steadfast goodly Odysseus rejoiced; 
and then he uttered a word in prayer, and called aloud to 
Zeus : * Father Zeus, oh that Alcinous may fulfil all that 
he hath said, so may his fame never be quenched upon the 
earth, the grain-giver, and I should come to mine own 
land ! ' 

Thus they spake one to the other. And white-armed 
Arete bade her handmaids set out bedsteads beneath the 
gallery, and cast fair purple blankets over them, and spread 



THE ODYSSEY 103 

coverlets above, and thereon lay thick mantles to be a 
clothing over all. So they went from the hall with torch in 
hand. But when they had busied them and spread the good 
bedstead, they stood by Odysseus and called unto him, 
saying : 
* Up now, stranger, and get thee to sleep, thy bed is made.* 
So spake they^ and it seemed to him that rest was won- 
drous good. So he slept there, the steadfast goodly Odys- 
seus, on the jointed bedstead, beneath the echoing gallery. 
But Alcinous laid him down in the innermost chamber of the 
high house, and by^ him the lad^ his wife arrayed bedstead 
and bedding. 




BOOK VIII 

The next day's entertainment of Odysseus, where he sees them 
contend in wrestling and other exercises, and upon provocation took 
up a greater stone than that which they were throwing, and over- 
threw them all. Alcinous and the lords give him presents. And 
how the king asked his name, his country, and his adventures. 

'OW when early Dawn shone forth, the rosy-fingered, 
then the mighty king Alcinous gat him up from his 
bed; and Odysseus, of the seed of Zeus, likewise 
uprose, the waster of cities. And the mighty king Alcinous 
led the way to the assembly place of the Phaeacians, which 
they had stablished hard by the ships. So when they had 
come thither, and sat them down on the polished stones close 
by each other, Pallas Athene went on her way through the 
town, in the semiblance of the herald of wise Alcinous, de- 
vising a return for the great-hearted Odysseus. Then stand- 
ing by each man she spake, saying: 

* Hither now get ye to the assembly, ye captains and coun- 
sellors of the Phaeacians, that ye may learn concerning the 
stranger, who hath lately come to the palace of wise Alcinous, 
in his wanderings over the deep, and his form is like the 
deathless gods.' 

Therewith she aroused the spirit and desire of each one, 
and speedily the meeting-places and seats were filled with 
men that came to the gathering: yea, and many an one 
marvelled at the sight of the wise son of Laertes, for won- 
drous was the grace Athene poured upon his head and 
shoulders, and she made him greater and more mighty to 
behold, that he might win love and worship and honour 
among all the Phaeacians, and that he might accomplish 
many feats, wherein the Phaeacians made trial of Odysseus. 
Now when they were gathered and come together, Alcinous 
made harangue and spake among them : 

'Harken, ye captains and counsellors of the Phaeacians, 

104 



THE ODYSSEY 105 

and I will say that which my spirit within me bids me utter. 
This stranger, I know not who he is, hath come to my 
house in his wandering, whether from the men of the 
dawning or the westward, and he presses for a convoy, and 
prays that it be assured to him. So let us, as in time past, 
speed on the convoy. For never, nay never, doth any man 
who cometh to my house, abide here long in sorrow for 
want of help upon his way, Na}^, come let us draw down a 
black ship to the fair salt sea, for her first voyage, and let 
them choose fifty and two noble youths throughout the town- 
ship, who have been proved heretofore the best. And when 
ye have made fast the oars upon the benches, step all ashore, 
and thereafter come to our house, and quickly fall to feast-, 
ing; and I will make good provision for all. To the noble 
youths I give this com.mandm.ent ; but ye others, sceptred 
kings, come to my fair dwelling, that we may entertain the 
stranger in the halls, and let no man make excuse. More- 
over, bid hither the divine minstrel, Demodocus, for the god 
hath given minstrelsy to him as to none other, to make men 
glad in what way soever his spirit stirs him to sing.' 

He spake and led the way, and the sceptred kings accom- 
panied him, while the henchmen went for the divine min- 
strel. And chosen youths, fifty and two, departed at his 
command, to the shore of the unharvested sea. But after 
they had gone down to the ship and to the sea, first of all 
they drew the ship down to the deep water, and placed the 
mast and sails in the black ship, and fixed the oars in 
leathern loops, all orderly, and spread forth the white sails. 
And they moored her high out in the shore water, and 
thereafter went on their way to the great palace of the wise 
Alcinous. Now the galleries and the courts and the rooms 
were thronged with men that cam.e to the gathering, for 
there were many, young and old. Then Alcinous sacrificed 
twelve sheep among them, and eight boars with flashing 
tusks, and two oxen with trailing feet. These they flayed 
and made ready, and dressed a goodly feast. 

Then the henchman drew near, leading with him the 
beloved minstrel, whom the m.use loved dearly, and she gave 
him both good and evil; of his sight she reft him, but 
granted him sweet song. Then Pontonous, the henchman^ 



106 HOMER 

set for him a high chair inlaid with silver, in the midst of 
the guests, leaning it against the tall pillar, and he hung 
the loud lyre on a pin, close above his head, and showed 
him how to lay his hands on it. And close by him he placed 
a basket, and a fair table, and a goblet of wine by his side, to 
drink when his spirit bade him. So they stretched forth 
their hands upon the good cheer spread before them. But 
after they had put from them the desire of meat and drink, 
the Muse stirred the minstrel to sing the songs of famous 
men^ even that lay whereof the fame had then reached the 
wide heaven, namely, the quarrel between Odysseus and 
Achilles, son of Peleus; how once on a time they contended 
in fierce words at a rich festival of the gods, but Agamem- 
non, king of men, was inly glad when the noblest of the 
Achaeans fell at variance. For so Phoebus Apollo in his 
soothsaying had told him that it must be, in goodly Pytho, 
what time he crossed the threshold of stone, to seek to the 
oracle. For in those days the first wave of woe was rolling 
on Trojans and Danaans through the counsel of great 
Zeus. 

This song it was that the famous minstrel sang; but 
Odysseus caught his great purple cloak with his stalwart 
hands, and drew it down over his head, and hid his comely 
face, for he was ashamed to shed tears beneath his brows 
in presence of the Phaeacians. Yea, and oft as the divine 
minstrel paused in his song, Odysseus would wipe away 
the tears, and draw the cloak from off his head, and take 
the two-handled goblet and pour forth before the gods. But 
whensoever he began again, and the chiefs of the Phaeacians 
stirred him to sing, in delight at the lay, again would Odys- 
seus cover up his head and make moan. Now none of all 
the company marked him weeping, but Alcinous alone noted 
it and was ware thereof as he sat by him and heard him 
groaning heavily. And presently he spake among the 
Phaeacians, masters of the oar: 

* Hearken, ye captains and counsellors of the Phaeacians, 
now have our souls been satisfied with the good feast, and 
with the lyre, which is the mate of the rich banquet. Let us 
go forth anon, and make trial of divers games, that the 
stranger may tell his friends, ^vhen home he returneth, how 



THE ODYSSEY 107 

greatly we excel all men in boxing, and wrestling, and leap- 
ing, and speed of foot/ 

He spake, and led the way, and they went with him. And 
the henchman hung the loud lyre on the pin, and took the 
hand of Demodocus, and let him forth from the hall, and 
guided him by the same way, whereby those others, the 
chiefs of the Phaeacians, had gone to gaze upon the games. 
So they went on their way to the place of assembly, and 
with them' a great company innumerable; and many a noble 
youth stood up to play. There rose Acroneus, and Ocyalus, 
and Elatreus, and Nauteus, and Prymneus, and Anchialus, 
and Eretmeus, and Ponteus, and Proreus, Thoon, and 
Anabesineus, and Amphialus, son of Polyneus, son of Tek- 
ton, and likewise Euryalus, the peer of murderous Ares, the 
son of Naubolus, who in face and form was goodliest of all 
the Phaeacians next to noble Laodamas. And there stood 
up the three sons of noble Alcinous, Laodamas, and Halius, 
and god-like Clytoneus. And behold, these all first tried 
the issue in the foot race. From the very start they strained 
at utmost speed: and all together they flew forward swiftly, 
raising the dust along the plain. And noble Clytoneus was 
far the swiftest of them all in running, and by the length 
of the furrow that mules cleave in a fallow field,^ so far 
did he shoot to the front, and came to the crowd by the lists, 
while those others were left behind. Then they made trial 
of strong wrestling, and here in turn Euryalus excelled all 
the best. And in leaping Amphialus was far the foremost, 
and Elatreus in weight-throwing, and in boxing Laodamas, 
the good son of Alcinous. Now when they had all taken 
their pleasure in the games, Laodamas, son of Alcinous, 
spake am.ong them: 

* Come, my friends, let us ask the stranger whether he Is 
skilled or practised in any sport. Ill fashioned, at least, 
he is not in his thighs and sinewy legs and hands withal, 
and his stalwart neck and mighty strength: yea and he 
lacks not youth, but is crushed by many troubles. For I 
tell thee there is nought else worse than the sea to confound 
a man, how hardy soever he may be/ 

1 The distance here indicated seems to be that whicii the mule goes ia 
ploughing, without pausing to take breath. 



108 HOMER 

And Euryalus in turn made answer, and said: *Laoda- 
mas, verily thou hast spoken this word in season. Go now 
thyself and challenge him, and declare thy saying/ 

Now when the good son of Alcinous heard this, he went 
and stood in the midst, and spake unto Odysseus : ' Come, 
do thou too, father and stranger, try thy skill in the sports, 
if haply thou art practised in any ; and thou art like to have 
knowledge of games, for there is no greater glory for a man 
while yet he lives, than that which he achieves by hand and 
foot. Come, then, make essay, and cast away care from thy 
soul: thy journey shall not now be long delayed; lo, thy 
ship is even now drawn down to the sea, and the men of 
thy company are ready.' 

And Odysseus of many counsels answered him, saying: 
' Laodamas, wherefore do ye mock me, requiring this thing 
of me? Sorrow is far nearer my heart than sports, for 
much have I endured and laboured sorely in time past, and 
now I sit in this your gathering, craving my return, and 
making my prayer to the king and all the people.' 

And Euryalus answered, and rebuked him to his face: 
* No truly, stranger, nor do I think thee at all like one that 
is skilled in games, whereof there are many among men, 
rather art thou such an one as comes and goes in a benched 
ship, a master of sailors that are merchantmen, one with a 
memory for his freight, or that hath the charge of a cargo 
homeward bound, and of greedily gotten gains; thou seemest 
not a man of thy hands.' 

Then Odysseus of many counsels looked fiercely on him 
and said : ' Stranger, thou hast not spoken well ; thou art 
like a man presumptuous. So true it is that the gods do 
not give every gracious gift to all, neither shapeliness, nor 
wisdom, nor skilled speech. For one man is feebler than 
another in presence, yet the god crowns his words with 
beauty, and men behold him and rejoice, and his speech runs 
surely on his way with a sweet modesty, and he shines forth 
am_ong the gathering of his people, and as he passes through 
the town men gaze on him as a god. Another again is like 
the deathless gods for beauty, but his words have no crown 
of grace about them; even as thou art in comeliness pre- 
eminent, nor could a god himself fashion thee for the better, 



THE ODYSSEY 109 

but in wit thou art a weakling. Yet, thou hast stirred my 
spirit in my breast by speaking thus amiss. I am not all 
unversed in sports, as thy words go, but methinks I was 
among the foremost while as yet I trusted in my youth and 
my hands, but now am I holden in misery and pains : for 
I have endured much in passing through the wars of men 
and the grievous waves of the sea. Yet even so, for all 
my affliction, I will essay the games, for thy word hath bitten 
to the quick, and thou hast roused me with thy saying.' 

He spake, and clad even as he was in his mantle leaped to 
his feet, and caught up a weight larger than the rest, a 
huge weight heavier far than those wherewith the Phaea- 
cians contended in casting. With one whirl he sent it from 
his stout hand, and the stone flew hurtling: and the Phaea- 
cians, of the long oars, those mariners renowned, crouched 
to earth beneath the rushing of the stone. Beyond all the 
marks it flew, so lightly it sped from his hand, and Athene 
in the fashion of a man marked the place, and spake and 
hailed him : 

' Yea, even a blind man, stranger, might discern that 
token if he groped for it, for it is in no wise lost among 
the throng of the others, but is far the first; for this bout 
then take heart: not one of the Phaeacians shall attain 
thereunto or overpass it.' 

So spake she; and the steadfast goodly Odysseus re- 
joiced and was glad, for that he saw a true friend in 
the lists. Then with a lighter heart he spake amid the 
Phaeacians : 

' Now reach ye this throw, young men, if ye may ; and 
soon methinks, will I cast another after it, as far or yet 
further. And whomsoever of the rest his heart and spirit 
stir thereto, hither let him come and try the issue with me, 
in boxing or in wrestling or even in the foot race, I care 
not which, for ye have greatly angered me : let any of all the 
Phaeacians come save Laodamas alone, for he is mine host: 
who would strive with one that entreated him kindly? Wit- 
less and worthless is the man, whoso challengeth his host 
that receiveth him in a strange land, he doth but maim his 
Dwn estate. But for the rest, I refuse none and hold none 
lightly, but I fain would know and prove them face to face. 



110 HOMER 

For I am no weakling in all sports, even in the feats ol 
men. I know well how to handle the polished bow, and ever 
the first would I be to shoot and smite my man in the press 
of foes, even though many of my company stood by, and 
were aiming at the enemy. Alone Philoctetes in the Trojan 
land surpassed me with the bow in our Achaean archery. 
But I avow myself far more excellent than all besides, of 
the mortals that are now upon the earth and live by bread. 
Yet with the men of old time I would not match me, neither 
with Heracles nor with Eurytus of Oechalia, who contended 
even with the deathless gods for the prize of archery. 
Wherefore the great Eurytus perished all too soon, nor 
did old age come on him in his halls, for Apollo slew him 
in his wrath, seeing that he challenged him to shoot a m-atch. 
And with the spear I can throw further than any other 
man can shoot an arrow. Only I doubt that in the foot 
race some of the Phaeacians may outstrip me, for I have 
been shamefully broken in many waters, seeing that there 
was no continual sustenance on board; wherefore my knees 
are loosened.' 

So spake he and all kept silence; and Alcinous alone 
answered him, saying: 

* Stranger, forasmuch as these thy v/ords are not ill-taken 
in our gathering, but thou wouldest fain show forth the 
valour which keeps thee company, being angry that yonder 
man stood by thee in the lists, and taunted thee, in such 
sort as no mortal would speak lightly of thine excellence, 
who had knowledge of sound words; nay now, mark my 
speech; so shalt thou have somewhat to tell another hero, 
when with thy wife and children thou suppest in thy hails, 
and recallest our prowess, what deeds Zeus bestoweth even 
upon us from our fathers' days even until now. For we 
are no perfect boxers, nor wrestlers, but speedy runners, 
and the best of seamen; and dear to us ever is the ban- 
quet, and the harp, and the dance, and changes of raiment, 
and the warm bath, and love, and sleep. Lo, now arise, 
ye dancers of the Phaeacians, the best in the land, and 
make sport, that so the stranger may tell his friends, v/hen 
he returneth home, how far we surpass all men besides in 
seamanship, and speed of foot, and in the dance and song. 



THE ODYSSEY Hi 

And let one go quickly, and fetch for Demodocus the loud 
lyre which is lying somewhere in our halls/ 

So spake Alcinous the godlike, and the henchman rose to 
bear the hollow lyre from the king's palace. Then stood up 
nine chosen men in all, the judges of the people, who were 
wont to order all things in the lists aright. So they levelled 
the place for the dance, and made a fair ring and a wide. 
And the henchman drew near bearing the loud lyre to De- 
modocus, who gat him into the midst, and round him stood 
boys in their first bloom, skilled in the dance, and they smote 
the good floor with their feet. And Odysseus gazed at the 
twinklings of the feet, and marvelled in spirit. 

Now as the minstrel touched the lyre, he lifted up his 
voice in sweet song, and he sang of the love of Ares and 
Aphrodite, of the fair crown, how at the first they lay to- 
gether in the house of Hephaestus privily; and Ares gave 
her many gifts, and dishonoured the marriage bed of the 
lord Hephaestus, And anon there came to him one to re- 
port the thing, even Helios, that had seen them at their pas- 
time. Now when Hephaestus heard the bitter tidings, he 
went his way to the forge, devising evil in the deep of his 
heart, and set the great anvil on the stithy, and wrought 
fetters that none might snap or loosen, that the lovers might 
there unmoveably remain. Now when he had forged the 
crafty net in his anger against Ares, he went on his way 
to the chamber where his marriage bed was set out, and 
strewed his snares all about the posts of the bed, and many 
too were hung aloft from the main beam, subtle as spiders' 
webs, so that none might see them, even of the blessed gods : 
so cunningly were they forged. Now after he had done 
winding the snare about the bed, he made as though he 
would go to Lemnos, that stablished castle, and this was far 
the dearest of all lands in his sight. But Ares of the golden 
rein kept no blind watch, what tim.e he saw Hephaestus, the 
famed craftsman, depart afar. So he went on his way to 
the house of renowned Hephaestus, eager for the love of 
crowned Cytherea. Now she was but newly com.e from her 
sire, the mighty Cronion, and as it chanced had sat her 
down; and Ares entered the house, and clasped her hand, 
and spake, and hailed her: 



112 HOMER 

'Come, my beloved, let us to bed, and take our pleasure 
of love^ for Hephaestus is no longer among his own people; 
methinks he is already gone to Lemnos, to the Sintians, men 
of savage speech/ 

So spake he, and a glad thing it seemed to her to lie with 
him. So they twain went to the couch, and laid them to 
sleep, and around them clung the cunning bonds of skilled 
Hephaestus, so that they could not move nor raise a limb. 
Then at the last they knew it, when there was no way to flee. 
Now the famous god of the strong arms drew near to them, 
having turned him back ere he reached the land of Lemnos. 
For Helios had kept watch, and told him all. So heavy 
at heart he went his way to his house, and stood at the 
entering in of the gate, and wild rage gat hold of him, and 
he cried terribly, and shouted to all the gods : 

'Father Zeus, and ye other blessed gods, that live for 
ever, come hither, that ye may see a mirthful thing and a 
cruel, for that Aphrodite, daughter of Zeus, ever dishonours 
me by reason of my lameness, and sets her heart on Ares the 
destroyer, because he is fair and straight of limb, but as for 
me, feeble was I born. Howbeit, there is none to blame but 
my father and mother, — would they had never begotten me f 
But now shall ye see where these have gone up into my bed, 
and sleep together in love; and I am troubled at the sight. 
Yet, methinks, they will not care to lie thus even for a little 
v/hile longer, despite their great love. Soon will they have 
no desire to sleep together, but the snare and the bond shall 
hold them, till her sire give back to me the gifts of wooing, 
one and all, those that I bestowed upon him for the hand of 
his shameless girl; for that his daughter is fair, but without 
discretion.' 

So spake he; and lo, the gods gathered together to the 
house of the brazen floor. Poseidon came, the girdler of the 
earth, and Hermes came, the bringer of luck, and prince 
Apollo came, the archer. But the lady goddesses abode each 
within her house for shame. So the gods, the givers of 
good things, stood in the porch: and laughter unquenchable 
arose among the blessed gods, as they beheld the sleight of 
cunning Hephaestus. And thus would one speak, looking 
to his neighbour: 



THE ODYSSEY 113 

*III deed, ill speed! The slow catcheth the swift »- Lo, 
'iiow Hephaestus, slow as he is, hath overtaken Ares, albeit 
he is the swiftest of the gods that hold Olympus, by his craft 
tath he taken him despite his lameness; wherefore surely 
Ares oweth the fine of the adulterer.' Thus they spake one 
t3 the other. But the lord Apollo, son of Zeus, spake to 
Hermes : 

' Hermes, son of Zeus, messenger and giver of good things, 
wouldst thou be fain, aye, pressed by strong bonds though 
it might be, to lie on the couch by golden Aphrodite?' 

Then the messenger, the slayer of Argos, answered him: 
' I would that this might be, Apollo, my prince of archery ! 
So might thrice as many bonds innumerable encompass me 
about, and all ye gods be looking on and all the goddesses, 
yet would I lie by golden Aphrodite/ 

So spake he, and laughter rose among the deathless 
gods. Howbeit, Poseidon laughed not, but was instant with 
Hephaestus, the renowned artificer, to loose the bonds of 
Ares: and he uttered his voice, and spake to him winged 
words : 

' Loose him, I pray thee, and I promise even as thou 
biddest me, that he shall himself pay all fair forfeit in the 
presence of the deathless gods.' ^ 

Then the famous god of the strong arms answered him: 
' Require not this of me, Poseidon, girdler of the earth. 
Evil are evil folk's pledges to hold. How could I keep thee 
bound among the deathless gods, if Ares were to depart, 
avoiding the debt and the bond ? ' 

Then Poseidon answered him, shaker of the earth : ' He- 
phaestus, even if Ares avoid the debt and flee away, I my- 
self will pay thee all.' 

Then the famous god of the strong arms answered him: 
*It may not be that I should say thee nay, neither is it 
meet.^ 

Therewith the mxighty Hephaestus loosed the bonds, and 
the twain, when they were freed from that strong bond, 
sprang up straightway, and departed, he to Thrace, but 
laughter-loving Aphrodite went to Paphos of Cyprus, where 
is her precinct ajid fragrant altar. There the Graces bathed 
and anointed her with oil imperishable, such as is laid upon 



114 HOMER 

the everlasting gods. And they clad her in lovely raiment 
a wonder to see. 

This was the song the famous minstrel sang; ard 
Odysseus listened and was glad at heart, and likewise dd 
the Phaeacians, of the long oars, those mariners renowned 

Then Alcinous bade Halius and Laodamas dance alone, 
for none ever contended with them. So when they had 
taken in their hands the goodly ball of purple hue, that 
cunning Polybus had wrought for them, the one would 
bend backwards, and throw it towards the shadowy clouds; 
and the other would leap upv/ard from the earth, and catch 
it lightly in his turn, before his feet touched the ground. 
Now after they had made trial of throwing the ball straight 
up, the twain set to dance upon the bounteous earth, tossing 
the ball from hand to hand, and the other youths stood by 
the lists and beat time, and a great din uprose. 

Then it was that goodly Odysseus spake unto Alcinous: 
* My lord Alcinous, most notable among all the people, thou 
didst boast thy dancers to be the best in the world, and lo, 
thy words are fulfilled ; I wonder as I look on them.' 

So spake he, and the mighty king Alcinous rejoiced and 
spake at once among the Phaeacians, masters of the oar: 

* Hearken, ye captains and counsellors of the Phaeacians, 
this stranger seems to me a wise man enough. Come then, 
let us give him a stranger's gift, as is meet. Behold, there 
are tv/elve glorious princes who rule among this people and 
bear sway, and I myself am the thirteenth. Now each man 
among you bring a fresh robe and a doublet, and a talent of 
fine gold, and let us speedily carry all these gifts together, 
that the stranger may take them in his hands, and go to 
supper with a glad heart. As for Euryalus, let him yield 
amends to the man himself with soft speech and with a gift, 
for his was no gentle saying.* 

So spake he, and they all assented thereto, and would 
have it so. And each one sent forth his henchman to 
fetch his gift, and Euryalus answered the king and spake, 
saying : 

*My lord Alcinous, most notable among all the people, I 
will make atonement to thy guest according to thy word. I 
will give him a hanger all of bronze, with a silver hilt 



THE ODYSSEY 115 

thereto, and a sheath of fresh-sawn ivory covers it about, 
and it shall be to him a thing of price.' 

Therewith he puts into his hands the hanger dight with 
silver, and uttering his voice spake to him winged words: 
'Hail, stranger and father; and if aught grievous hath been 
spoken, may the storm-winds soon snatch and bear it away. 
But may the gods grant thee to see thy wife and to come to 
thine own country, for all too long hast thou endured afflic- 
tion away from thy friends.' 

And Odysseus of many counsels answered him saying: 
^ Thou too, my friend, all hail ; and may the gods vouchsafe 
thee happiness, and mayst thou never miss this sword which 
thou hast given me, thou that v/ith soft speech hast yielded 
me amends.' 

He spake and hung about his shoulders the silver-studded 
sword. And the sun sank, and the noble gifts were brought 
him. Then the proud henchmen bare them to the palace of 
Alcinous, and the sons of noble Alcinous took the fair gifts, 
and set them by their reverend mother. And the mighty 
king Alcinous led the way, and they came in and sat them 
down on the high seats. And the mighty Alcinous spake 
unto Arete : 

* Bring me hither, my lady, a choice coffer, the best thou 
hast, and thyself place therein a fresh robe and a doublet, 
and heat for our guest a cauldron on the fire, and warm 
water, that after the bath the stranger may see all the gifts 
duly arrayed which the noble Phaeacians bare hither, and 
that he may have joy in the feast, and in hearing the song 
of the minstrelsy. Also I will give him a beautiful golden 
chalice of mine own, that he may be mindful of me all the 
days of his life when he poureth the drink-offering to Zeus 
and to the other gods.' 

So spake he, and Arete bade her handmaids to set a great 
cauldron on the fire with what speed they might. And they 
set the cauldron for the filling of the bath on the blazing 
fire, and poured water therein, and took faggots and kindled 
them beneath. So the fire began to circle round the belly of 
the cauldron, and the water waxed hot. Meanwhile Arete 
brought forth for her guest the beautiful coffer from the 
treasure chamber, and bestowed fair gifts therein, raiment 



116 HOMER 

and gold, which the Phaeacians gave him. And with hej 
own hands she placed therein a robe and goodly doublet, 
and uttering her voice spake to him winged words : 

' Do thou now look to the lid, and quickly tie the knot, 
lest any man spoil thy goods by the way, when presently 
thou fallest on sweet sleep travelling in thy black ship.' 

Now when the steadfast goodly Odysseus heard this say- 
ing, forthwith he fixed on the lid, and quickly tied the 
curious knot which the lady Circe on a time had taught him. 
Then straightway the housewife bade him go to the bath 
and bathe him, and he saw the warm water and was glad, 
for he was not wont to be so cared for, from the day that 
he left the house of fair-tressed Calypso, but all that while 
he had comfort continually as a god. 

Now after the maids had bathed him and anointed him 
with olive oil, and had cast a fair mantle and a doublet upon 
him, he stept forth from the bath, and went to be with the 
chiefs at their wine. And Nausicaa, dowered with beauty 
by the gods, stood by the pillar of the well-builded hall, and 
marvelled at Odysseus, beholding him before her eyes, and 
she uttered her voice and spake to him winged words: 

* Farewell, stranger, and even in thine own country be- 
think thee of me upon a time, for that to me first thou owest 
the ransom of life.' 

And Odysseus of m^any counsels answered her saying: 
* Nausicaa, daughter of great-hearted Alcinous, yea, m.ay 
Zeus, the thunderer, the lord of Here, grant me to reach 
my home and see the day of my returning; so would I, even 
there, do thee worship as to a god, all my days for ever- 
more, for thou, lady, hast given me my life.' 

He spake and sat him in the high seat by king Alcinous. 
And now they were serving out the portions and mixing the 
wine. Then the henchman drew nigh leading the sw^eet 
minstrel, Demodocus, that was had in honour of the people. 
So he set him in the midst of the feasters, and made him 
lean against a tall column. Then to the henchman spake 
Odysseus of many counsels, for he had cut off a portion of 
the chine of a white-toothed boar, whereon yet more was 
left, with rich fat on either side: 

' Lo, henchman, take this mess, and hand it to Demod- 



THE ODYSSEY 117 

ocus, that he may eat, and I will bid him hail, despite my 
sorrow. For minstrels from all men on earth get their meed 
of honour and worship; inasmuch as the Muse teacheth 
them the paths of song, and loveth the tribe of minstrels/ 

Thus he spake, and the henchman bare the mess, and set 
it upon the knees of the lord Demodocus, and he took it, 
and was glad at heart. Then they stretched forth their 
hands upon the good cheer set before them. Now after they 
had put from them the desire of meat and drink, then 
Odysseus of many counsels spake to Demodocus, saying: 

'Demodocus, I praise thee far above all mortal men, 
whether it be the Muse, the daughter of Zeus, that taught 
thee, or even x\pollo, for right duly dost thou chant the 
faring of the Achaeans, even all that they wrought and 
suffered, and all their travail, as if, methinks, thou hadst 
been present, or heard the tale from another. Come now, 
change thy strain, and sing of the fashioning of the horse 
of wood, which Epeius made by the aid of Athene, even the 
guileful thing, that goodly Odysseus led up into the citadel, 
when he had laden it with the men who wasted Ilios. If 
thou wilt indeed rehearse me this aright, so will I be thy 
witness amxong all men, how the god of his grace hath given 
thee the gift of wondrous song.' 

So spake he, and the minstrel, being stirred by the god, 
began and showed forth his minstrelsy. He took up the tale 
where it tells how the Argives of the one part set fire to 
their huts, and went aboard their decked ships and sailed 
away, while those others, the fellowship of renowned 
Odysseus, were now seated in the assembly-place of the 
Trojans, all hidden in the horse, for the Trojans them- 
selves had dragged him to the citadel. So the horse stood 
there, while seated all around him the people spake many 
things confusedly and three ways their counsel looked; 
either to cleave the hollow timber with the pitiless spear, or 
to drag it to the brow of the hill, and hurl it from the 
rocks, or to leave it as a mighty offering to appease the gods. 
And on this wise it was to be at the last. For the doom 
was on them to perish when their city should have closed 
upon the great horse of wood, wherein sat all the bravest 
of the Argives, bearing to the Trojans death and destiny. 



118 HOMER 

And he sang how the sons of the Achaeans poured forth 
from the horse, and left the hollow lair, and sacked the 
burg. And he sang how and where each man wasted the 
lown, and of Odysseus, how he went like Ares to the house 
of Deiphobus with godlike Menelaus. It was there, he said, 
that Odysseus adventured the most grievous battle, and in 
the end prevailed, by grace of great-hearted Athene. 

This was the 6ong that the famous minstrel sang. But 
the heart of Odysseus melted, and the tear wet his cheeks 
beneath the eyelids. And as a woman throws herself wail- 
ing about her dead lord, who hath fallen before his city and 
the host, warding from his town and his children the pitiless 
day ; and she beholds him dying and drawing difficult breath, 
and embracing his body wails aloud, while the foemen be- 
hind smite her with spears on back and shoulders and lead 
her up into bondage to bear labour and trouble, and with 
the most pitiful grief her cheeks are wasted; even so piti- 
fully fell the tears beneath the brows of Odysseus. Now 
none of all the company marked him weeping; but Alcinous 
alone noted it, and was ware thereof, as he sat nigh him 
and heard him groaning heavily. And presently he spake 
among the Phaeacians, masters of the oar: 

* Hearken, ye captains and counsellors of the Phaeacians, 
and now let Demodocus hold his hand from the loud lyre, 
for this song of his is nowise pleasing alike to all. From 
the time that we began to sup, and that the divine minstrel 
was moved to sing, ever since hath yonder stranger never 
ceased from woeful lamentation: sore grief, methinks, hath 
encompassed his heart. Nay, but let the minstrel cease, that 
' we may all alike make merry, hosts and guest, since it is far 
meeter so. For all these things are ready for the sake of the 
honourable stranger, even the convoy and the loving gifts 
which we give him out of our love. In a brother's place 
stand the stranger and the suppliant, to him whose wits 
have even a little range. Wherefore do thou too hide not 
now with crafty purpose aught whereof I ask thee ; it were 
more meet for thee to tell it out. Say, what is the name 
whereby they called thee at home, even thy father and thy 
mother, and others thy townsmen and the dwellers round 
about? For there is none of all mankind nameless, neither 



THE ODYSSEY 119 

the mean man nor yet the noble, from the first hour of his 
birth, but parents bestow a name on every man so soon as 
he is born. Tell me too of thy land, thy township, and thy 
city, that our ships may conceive of their course to bring 
thee thither. For the Phaeacians have no pilots nor any 
rudders after the manner of other ships, but their barques 
themselves understand the thoughts and intents of men; 
they know the cities and fat fields of every people, and 
most swiftly they traverse the gulf of the salt sea, shrouded 
in mist and cloud, and never do they go in fear of wreck or 
ruin. Howbeit I heard upon a time this word thus spoken 
by my father Nausithous, who was wont to say that Posei- 
don was jealous of us for that we give safe escort to all 
men. He said that the god would somic day smite a well- 
wrought ship of the Phaeacians as she came home from a 
convoy over the misty deep, and would overshadow our city 
with a great mountain. Thus that ancient one would speak, 
and thus the god may bring it about, or leave it undone, 
according to the good pleasure of his will. But come now, 
declare me this and plainly tell it all; whither wast thou 
borne wandering, and to whaf shores of men thou earnest; 
tell me of the people and of their fair-lying cities, of those 
whoso are hard and wild and unjust, and of those likewise 
who are hospitable and of a god-fearing mind. Declare, 
too, wherefore thou dost weep and mourn in spirit at the 
tale of the faring of the Argive Danaans and the lay of 
Ilios. All this the gods have fashioned, and have woven 
the skein of death for men, that there might be a song in 
the ears even of the folk of aftertime. Hadst thou even a 
kinsman by marriage that fell before Ilios, a true man, a 
daughter's husband or wife's father, such as are nearest us 
after those of cur own stock and blood? Or else, may be, 
some loving friend, a good man and true; for a friend with 
an understanding heart is no whit worse than a brother.' 




BOOK IX 

Odysseus relates, first, what befell him amongst the Cicones at 
Ismarus ; secondly, amongst the Lotophagi ; thirdly, how he was 
used by the Cyclops Polyphemus. 

ND Odysseus of many counsels answered him saying: 
*King Alcinous, most notable of all the people, 
verily it is a good thing to list to a minstrel such as 
this one, like to the gods in voice. Nay, as for me, I say 
that there is no more gracious or perfect delight than when 
a whole people makes merry, and the men sit orderly at 
feast in the halls and listen to the singer, and the tables by 
them are laden with bread and flesh, and a wine-bearer 
drawing the wine serves it round and pours it into the cups. 
This seems to me vsrell-nigh the fairest thing in the world. 
But now thy heart was inclined to ask of my grievous 
troubles, that I may mourn for more exceeding sorrow. 
What then shall I tell of first, what last, for the gods of 
heaven have given me woes in plenty? Now, first, will I 
tell my name, that ye too may know it, and that I, when 
I have escaped the pitiless day, may yet be your host, though 
my home is in a far country. I am Odysseus^ son of 
Laertes, who am in men's minds for all manner of wiles, 
and my fame reaches unto heaven. And I dwell in clear- 
seen Ithaca, wherein is a mountain Neriton, with trembling 
forest leaves, standing manifest to view, and many islands 
lie around, very near one to the other, Dulichium and Same, 
and wooded Zacynthus. Now Ithaca lies low, furthest up 
the sea-line toward the darkness, but those others face the 
dawning and the sun: a rugged isle, but a good nurse of 
noble youths; and for myself I can see nought beside 
sweeter than a man's own country. Verily Calypso, the fair 
goddess, would fain have kept me with her in her hollow 
caves, longing to have me for her lord; and likewise too, 
guileful Circe of Aia, would have stayed me in her halls, 

120 



THE ODYSSEY 121 

longing to have me for her lord. But never did they prevail 
upon my heart within my breast. So surely is there nought 
sweeter than a man's own country and his parents, even 
though he dwell far off in a rich home, in a strange land, 
away from them that begat him. But come, let me tell thee 
too of the troubles of my journeying, which Zeus laid on 
me as I came from Troy. 

* The wind that bare me from Ilios brought me nigh to the 
Cicones, even to Ismarus, whereupon I sacked their city 
and slew the people. And from out the city we took their 
wives and much substance, and divided them amongst us, 
that none through me might go lacking his proper share. 
Howbeit, thereafter I commanded that we should flee with 
a swift foot, but my men in their great folly hearkened not. 
There was much wine still a drinking, and still they slew 
many flocks of sheep by the seashore and kine with trailing 
feet and shambling gait. Meanwhile the Cicones went and 
raised a cry to other Cicones their neighbours, dwelling 
inland, who were more in num.ber than they and braver 
withal: skilled they were to fight with men from chariots, 
and when need was on foot. So they gathered in the early 
morning as thick as leaves and flowers that spring in their 
season — yea and in that hour an evil doom of Zeus stood 
by us, ill-fated men, that so we might be sore afflicted. 
They set their battle in array by the swift ships, and the 
hosts cast at one another with their bronze-shod spears. So 
long as it was morn and the sacred day waxed stronger, so 
long we abode their assault and beat them off, albeit they 
outnumbered us. But when the sun was wending to the 
time of the loosing of cattle, then at last the Cicones drave 
in the Achaeans and overcame them, and six of my goodly- 
greaved company perished from each ship : but the remnant 
of us escaped death and destiny. 

' Thence we sailed onward stricken at heart, yet glad as 
men saved from death, albeit we had lost our dear com- 
panions. Nor did my curved ships move onward ere we had 
called thrice on each of those our hapless fellows, who died 
at the hands of the Cicones on the plain. Now Zeus, gath- 
erer of the clouds, aroused the North Wind against our 
ships with a terrible tempest, and covered land and sea alike 



122 HOMER 

with clouds, and down sped night from heaven. Thus the 
ships were driven headlong, and their sails were torn to 
shreds by the might of the wind. So we lovv^ered the sails 
into the hold, in fear of death, but rowed the ships land- 
ward apace. There for two nights and two days we lay 
continually, consuming our hearts with weariness and sor- 
row. But when the fair-tressed Dawn had at last brought 
the full light of the third day, we set up the m.asts and 
hoisted the white sails and sat us dov\^n, while the wind and 
the helmsman guided the ships. And now I should have 
come to mine own country all unhurt, but the wave and the 
stream of the sea and the North Wind swept me from my 
course as I was doubling Malea, and drave me wandering 
past Cythera. 

* Thence for nine whole days was I borne by ruinous 
winds over the teeming deep, but on the tenth day we set foot 
on the land of the lotus-eaters, who eat a flowery food. So 
we stepped ashore and drew water, and straightway my 
company took their midday meal by the swift ships. Now 
when we had tasted meat and drink I sent forth certain of 
my company to go and make search what manner of men 
they were who here live upon the earth by bread, and I chose 
out two of my fellows, and sent a third with them as 
herald. Then straightway they went and mixed with the 
men of the lotus-eaters, and so it was that the lotus-eaters 
devised not death for our fellows, but gave them of the 
lotus to taste. Now whosoever of them did eat the honey- 
sweet fruit of the lotus, had no more wish to bring tidings 
nor to come back, but there he chose to abide with the 
lotus-eating men, ever feeding on the lotus and forgetful of 
his homeward way. Therefore I led them back to the 
ships weeping, and sore against their will, and dragged them 
beneath the benches, and bound them in the hollow barques. 
But I commanded the rest of my well-loved company to 
make speed and go on board the swift ships, lest haply any 
should eat of the lotus and be forgetful of returning. Right 
soon they embarked, and sat upon the benches, and sitting 
orderly they smote the grey sea water with their oars. 

* Thence we sailed onward stricken at heart. And we 
came to the land of the Cyclope^j a .Irowsrd and a lawless 



THE ODYSSEY 123 

folk, who trusting to the deathless gods plant not aught with 
their hands, neither plough: but, behold, all these things 
spring for them in plenty, unsown and untilled, wheat, and 
barley, and vines, which bear great clusters of the juice of 
the grape, and the rain of Zeus gives them increase. These 
have neither gatherings for council nor oracles of law, but 
they dwell in hollow caves on the crests of the high hills, 
and each one utters the law to his children and his wives, 
and they reck not one of another. 

* Now there is a waste isle stretching without the harbouf 
of the land of the Cyclopes, neither nigh at hand nor yet 
afar off, a woodland isle, wherein are wild goats unnum- 
bered, for no path of men scares them, nor do hunters 
resort thither who suffer hardships in the wood, as they 
range the mountain crests. Moreover it is possessed neither 
by flocks nor by ploughed lands, but the soil lies unsown 
evermore and untilled, desolate of men, and feeds the bleat- 
ing goats. For the Cyclopes have by them no ships with 
vermilion cheek, not yet are there shipwrights in the island, 
who might fashion decked barques, which should accomplish 
aH their desire, voyaging to the towns of men (as ofttimes 
men cross the sea to one another in ships), who might like- 
wise have made of their isle a goodly settlement. Yea, it is 
in no wise a sorry land, but would bear all things in their 
season; for therein are soft water-meadows by the shores 
of the grey salt sea, and there the vines know no decay, 
and the land is level to plough; thence might they reap a 
crop exceeding deep in due season, for verily there is fat- 
ness beneath the soil. Also there is a fair haven, where is 
no need of moorings, either to cast anchor ar to fasten 
hawsers, but men may run the ship on the beach, and tarry 
until such time as the sailors are minded to be gone, and 
favourable breezes blow. Now at the head of the harbour 
is a well of bright water issuing from a cave, and round it 
are poplars growing. Thither we sailed, and some god 
guided us through the night, for it was dark and there was 
no light to see, a mist lying deep about the ships, nor did 
the moon show her light from heaven, but was shut in with 
clouds. No man then beheld that island, neither saw we the 
long waves rolling to the beach, till we had run aur decked 



1^ HOMER 

ships ashore. And when our ships were beached, we took 
down all their sails, and ourselves too stept forth upon the 
strand of the sea, and there we fell into sound sleep and 
waited for the bright Dawn. 

* So soon as early Dawn shone forth, the rosy-fingered, in 
wonder at the island we roamed over the length thereof: 
and the Nymphs, the daughters of Zeus, lord of the aegis, 
started the wild goats of the hills, that my company might 
have wherewith to sup. Anon we took to us our curved 
bows from out the ships and long spears, and arrayed in 
three bands we began shooting at the goats; and the god 
soon gave us game in plenty. Now twelve ships bare me 
company, and to each ship fell nine goats for a portion, but 
for me alone they set ten apart. 

* Thus we sat there the livelong day until the going down 
of the sun, feasting on abundant flesh and on sweet wine. 
For the red wine was not yet spent from out the ships, but 
somewhat was yet therein, for we had each one drawn off 
large store thereof in jars, when we took the sacred citadel 
of the Cicones. And we looked across to the land of the 
Cyclopes, who dwell nigh, and to the smoke, and to the voice 
of the men, and of the sheep and of the goats. And when 
the sun had sunk and darkness had come on, then we laid 
us to rest upon the sea-beach. So soon as early Dawn 
shone forth, the rosy-fingered, then I called a gathering of 
my men, and spake among them all: 

'"Abide here all the rest of you, my dear companions; 
but I will go with mine own ship and my ship's company, 
and make proof of these men, what manner of folk they are, 
whether froward, and wild, and unjust, or hospitable and of 
god-fearing mind." 

' So I spake, and I climbed the ship's side, and bade my 
company themselves to mount, and to loose the hawsers. 
So they soon embarked and sat upon the benches, and sitting 
orderly smote the grey sea water with their oars. Now 
when we had come to the land that lies hard by, we saw a 
cave on the border near to the sea, lofty and roofed over with 
laurels, and there many flocks of sheep and goats were used 
to rest. And about it a high outer court was built with 
stones, deep bedded, and with tall pines and oaks with their 



THE ODYSSEY 12S 

high crown of leaves. And a man was wont to sleep therein, 
of monstrous size, who shepherded his flocks alone and afar, 
and was not conversant v/ith others, but dwelt apart in 
lawlessness of mind. Yea, for he was a monstrous thing 
and fashioned marvellously, nor was he like to any man 
that lives by bread, but like a wooded peak of the towering 
hills, which stands out apart and alone from others. 

' Then I commanded the rest of my well-loved company 
to tarry there by the ship, and to guard the ship, but I chose 
out twelve men, the best of my company, and sallied forth. 
Now I had with me a goat-skin of the dark wine and sweet 
which Maron, son of Euanthes, had given me, the priest of 
Apollo, the god that watched over Ismarus. And he gave 
it, for that we had protected him with his wife and child 
reverently ; for he dwelt in a thick grove of Phoebus Apollo. 
And he made me splendid gifts; he gave me seven talents 
of gold well wrought, and he gave me a mixing bowl of 
pure silver, and furthermore wine which he drew off in 
twelve jars in all, sweet wine unmingled, a draught divine; 
nor did any of his servants or of his handmaids in the 
house know thereof, but himself and his dear wife and one 
housedame only. And as often as they drank that red wine 
honey sweet, he would fill one cup and pour it into twenty 
measures of water, and a marvellous sweet smell went up 
from the mixing bowl: then truly it was no pleasure to 
refrain. 

' With this wine I filled a great skin, and bare it with me, 
and corn too I put in a wallet, for my lordly spirit straight- 
way had a boding that a man would come to me, a strange 
man, clothed in mighty strength, one that knew not judg- 
ment and justice.^ 

* Soon we came to the cave, but we found him not within; 
he was shepherding his fat flocks in the pastures. So we 
went into the cave, and gazed on all that was therein. The 
baskets were well laden with cheeses, and the folds were 
thronged with lambs and kids; each kind was penned by 
itself, the firstlings apart, and the summer lambs apart, apart 
too the younglings of the flock. Now all the vessels swam 
with whey, the milk-pails and the bowls, the well-wrought 
1 Literally, knowing neither dooms, nor ordinances of law. 



126 HOMER 

vessels whereinto he milked. My company then spake and 
besought me first of all to take of the cheeses and to return, 
and afterwards to make haste and drive off the kids and 
lambs to the swift ships from out the pens, and to sail over 
the salt sea water. Howbeit I hearkened not (and far 
better would it have been), but waited to see the giant him- 
self, and whether he would give me gifts as a stranger's 
due. Yet was not his coming to be with joy to my company. 

* Then we kindled a fire, and made burnt-offering, and 
ourselves likewise took of the cheeses, and did eat, and sat 
waiting for him within till he came back, shepherding his 
flocks. And he bore a grievous weight of dry wood, against 
supper time. This log he cast down with a din inside the 
cave, and in fear we fled to the secret place of the rock. As 
for him, he drave his fat flocks into the Vv^ide cavern, even 
all that he was wont to milk; but the males both of the 
sheep and of the goats he left without in the deep yard. 
Thereafter he lifted a huge doorstone and weighty, and set 
it in the mouth of the cave, such an one as two and twenty 
good four-wheeled wains could not raise from the ground, 
so mighty a sheer rock did he set against the doorway. Then 
he sat down and milked the ewes and bleating goats, all 
orderly, and beneath each ewe he placed her young. And 
anon he curdled one half of the white milk, and massed it 
together, and stored it in wicker-baskets, and the other half 
he let stand in pails, that he might have it to take and drink 
against supper time. Now when he had done all his work 
busily, then he kindled the fire anew, and espied us, and 
made question: 

' " Strangers, who are ye ? Whence sail ye over the 
wet ways? On some trading enterprise or at adventure 
do ye rove, even as sea-robbers over the brine, for at 
hazard of their own lives they wander, bringing bale to 
alien men." 

* So spake he, but as for us our heart within us was broken 
for terror of the deep voice and his own monstrous shape; 
yet despite all I answered and spake unto him, saying : 

* " Lo, we are Achaeans, driven wandering from Troy, by 
all manner of winds over the great gulf of the sea; seeking 
our homes we fare, but another path have we come, by other 



THE ODYSSEY 127 

ways: even such, methinks, was the will and the counsel of 
Zeus. And we avow us to be the men of Agamemnon, son 
of Atreus, whose fame is even now the mightiest under 
heaven, so great a city did he sack, and destroyed many 
people; but as for us we have lighted here, and come to 
these thy knees, if perchance thou wilt give us a stranger's 
gift, or make any present, as is the due of strangers. Nay, 
lord, have regard to the gods, for we are thy suppliants; 
and Zeus is the avenger of suppliants and sojourners, Zeus, 
the god of the stranger, who fareth in the company of 
reverend strangers." 

* So I spake, and anon he answered out of his pitiless 
heart : " Thou art witless, my stranger, or thou hast come 
from afar, who biddest me either to fear or shun the gods. 
For the Cyclopes pay no heed to Zeus, lord of the aegis, nor 
to the blessed gods, for verily we are better men than they. 
Nor would I, to shun the enmity of Zeus, spare either thee 
or thy company, unless my spirit bade me. But tell me 
where thou didst stay thy well-wrought ship on thy coming? 
Was it perchance at the far end of the island, or hard by, 
that I may know ? " 

* So he spake, tempting me, but he cheated me not, who 
knew full much, and I answered him again with words of 
guile : 

* "As for my ship, Poseidon, the shaker of the earth, brake 
it to pieces, for he cast it upon the rocks at the border of 
your country, and brought it nigh the headland, and a wind 
bare it thither from the sea. But I with these my men 
escaped from utter doom." 

* So I spake, and out of his pitiless heart he answered 
me not a word, but sprang up, and laid his hands upon my 
fellows, and clutching two together dashed them, as they had 
been whelps, to the earth, and the brain flowed forth upon 
the ground, and the earth was wet. Then cut he them up 
piecemeal, and made ready his supper. So he ate even as 
a mountain-bred lion, and ceased not, devouring entrails 
and flesh and bones with their marrow. And we wept and 
raised our hands to Zeus, beholding the cruel deeds; and 
\ve were at our wits' end. And after the Cyclops had filled 
his huge maw with human flesh and the milk he drank 



128 HOMER 

thereafter, he lay within the cave, stretched out among his 
sheep. 

* So I took counsel in my great heart, whether I should 
draw near, and pluck my sharp sword from my thigh, and 
stab him in the breast, where the midriff holds the liver, 
feeling for the place with my hand. But my second thought 
withheld me, for so should we too have perished even there 
with utter doom. For we should not have prevailed to roll 
away with our hands from the lofty door the heavy stone 
which he set there. So for that time we made moan, await- 
ing the bright Dawn. 

* Now when early Dawn shone forth, the rosy-fingered, 
again he kindled the fire and milked his goodly flocks all 
orderly, and beneath each ewe set her lamb. Anon when he 
had done all his work busily, again he seized yet other two 
men and made ready his mid-day meal. And after the meal, 
lightly he moved away the great door-stone, and drave his 
fat flocks forth from the cave, and afterwards he set it in his 
place again, as one might set the lid on a quiver. Then 
with a loud whoop, the Cyclops turned his fat flocks towards 
the hills; but I was left devising evil in the deep of my 
heart, if in any wise I might avenge me, and Athene grant 
me renown. 

*And this was the counsel that showed best in my sight. 
There lay by a sheep-fold a great club of the Cyclops, a club 
of olive wood, yet green, which he had cut to carry with him 
when it should be seasoned. Now when we saw it we 
likened it in size to the mast of a black ship of twenty oars, 
a wide m.erchant vessel that traverses the great sea gulf, so 
huge it was to view in bulk and length. I stood thereby and 
cut off from it a portion as it were a fathom's length, and set 
it by my fellows, and bade them fine it down, and they made 
it even, while I stood by and sharpened it to a point, and 
straightway I took it and hardened it in the bright fire. Then 
I laid it well away, and hid it beneath the dung, which was 
scattered in great heaps in the depths of the cave. And I 
bade my company cast lots among them, which of them 
should risk the adventure with me, and lift the bar and turn 
it about in his eye, when sweet sleep came upon him. And 
the lot fell upon those four whom I myself would have been 



THE ODYSSEY 129 

fain to choose, and I appointed myself to be the fifth among 
them. In the evening he came shepherding his flocks of 
goodly fleece, and presently he drave his fat flocks into the 
cave each and all, nor left he any without in the deep court- 
yard, Vv^hether through some foreboding, or perchance that 
the god so bade him do. Thereafter he lifted the huge 
door-stone and set it in the mouth of the cave, and sitting 
down he milked the ewes and bleating goats, all orderly, and 
beneath each ewe he placed her young. Now when he had 
done all his work busily, again he seized yet other two and 
made ready his supper. Then I stood by the Cyclops and 
spake to him, holding in my hands an ivy bowl of the dark 
wine: 

* " Cyclops, take and drink wine after thy feast of man's 
meat, that thou ma5^est know what manner of drink this was 
that our ship held. And lo, I was bringing it thee as a 
drink offering, if haply thou mayest take pity and send me 
on my way home, but thy mad rage is past all sufierance. 
O hard of heart, how may another of the many men there 
be come ever to thee again, seeing that thy deeds have been 
lawless ? " 

* So I spake, and he took the cup and drank it off, and 
found great delight in drinking the sweet draught, and asked 
me for it yet a second time : 

' " Give it me again of thy grace, and tell me thy name 
straightway, that I may give thee a stranger's gift, wherein 
thou mayest be glad. Yea for the earth, the grain-giver, 
bears for the Cyclopes the mighty clusters of the juice of 
the grape, and the rain of Zeus gives them increase, but 
this is a rill of very nectar and ambrosia." 

* So he spake, and again I handed him the dark wine. 
Thrice I bare and gave it him, and thrice in his folly he 
drank it to the lees. Now when the wine had got about the 
wits of the Cyclops, then did I speak to him with soft words : 

* " Cyclops, thou askest me my renowned name, and I 
will declare it unto thee, and do thou grant me a stranger's 
gift, as thou didst promise. Noman is my name, and Noman 
they call me, my father and my mother and all my fellows." 

* So I spake, and straightway he answered me out of his 
pitiless heart: 

B— Vol 22 HO 



130 HOMER 

* " Noman will I eat last in the number of his fellows, and 
the others before him : that shall be thy gift." 

* Therewith he sank backwards and fell with face upturned, 
and there he lay with his great neck bent round, and sleep, 
that conquers all men, overcame him. And the wine and the 
fragments of men's flesh issued forth from his mouth, and he 
vomited, being heavy with wine. Then I thrust in that stake 
under the deep ashes, until it should grow hot, and I spake 
to my companions comfortable words, lest any should hang 
back from me in fear. But when that bar of olive wood 
was just about to catch fire in the flame, green though it 
was, and began to glow terribly, even then I came nigh, 
and drew it from the coals, and my fellows gathered about 
me, and some god breathed great courage into us. For their 
part they seized the bar of olive wood, that was sharpened 
at the point, and thrust it into his eye, while I from my place 
aloft turned it about, as when a man bores a ship's beam 
with a drill while his fellows below spin it with a strap, 
which they hold at either end, and the auger runs round con- 
tinually. Even so did we seize the fiery-pointed brand and 
whirled it round in his eye, and the blood flowed about the 
heated bar. And the breath of the flame singed his eyelids 
and brows all about, as the ball of the eye burnt away, and 
the roots thereof crackled in the flame. And as when a smith 
dips an axe or adze in chill water with a great hissing, when 
he would temper it — for hereby anon comes the strength of 
iron — even so did his eye hiss round the stake of olive. And 
he raised a great and terrible cry, that the rock rang around, 
and we fled away in fear, while he plucked forth from his 
eye the brand bedabbled in much blood. Then maddened 
with pain he cast it from him with his hands, and called with 
a loud voice on the Cyclopes, who dwelt about him in the 
caves along the windy heights. And they heard the cry 
and flocked together from every side, and gathering round 
the cave asked him what ailed him : 

* " What hath so distressed thee, Polyphemus, that thou 

criest thus aloud through the immortal night, and makest us 

sleepless? Surely no mortal driveth off thy flocks against 

thy will: surely none slayeth thyself by force or craft?" 

*And the strong Polyphemus spake to them again from 



THE ODYSSEY 131 

out the cave : " My friends, Noman is slaying me by guile, 
nor at all by force." 

*And they answered and spake winged words: "If then 
no man is violently handling thee in thy solitude, it can in 
no wise be that thou shouldest escape the sickness sent by 
mighty Zeus. Nay, pray thou to thy father, the lord 
Poseidon." 

* On this wise they spake and departed ; and my heart 
within me laughed to see how my name and cunning counsel 
had beguiled them. But the Cyclops, groaning and travailing 
in pain, groped with his hands, and lifted away the stone from 
the door of the cave, and himself sat in the entry^ with arms 
outstretched to catch, if he might, any one that was going 
forth with his sheep, so witless, methinks, did he hope to find 
me. But I advised roe how all might be for the very best, 
if perchance I might find a way of escape from death for my 
companions and myself, and I wove all manner of craft and 
counsel, as a man will for his life, seeing that great mischief 
was nigh. And this was the counsel that showed best in 
my sight. The rams of the flock were well nurtured and 
thick of fleece, great and goodly, with wool dark as the 
violet. Quietly I lashed them together with twisted withies, 
whereon the Cyclops slept, that lawless monster. Three 
together I took: now the middle one of the three would 
bear each a man, but the other twain went on either side, 
saving my fellows. Thus every three sheep bare their man. 
But as for me I laid hold of the back of a young ram who 
was far the best and the goodliest of all the flock, and curled 
beneath his shaggy belly there I lay, and so clung face up- 
ward, grasping the wondrous fleece with a steadfast heart. 
So for that time making moan we awaited the bright Dav/n. 
* So soon as early Dawn shone forth, the rosy-fingered, 
then did the rams of the flock hasten forth to pasture, but the 
ewes bleated unmilked about the pens, for their udders were 
swollen to bursting. Then their lord, sore stricken v/ith pain, 
felt along the backs of all the sheep as they stood up before 
him, and guessed not in his folly how that my men were 
bound beneath the breasts of his thick-fleeced flocks. Last 
of all the sheep came forth the ram, cumbered with his 
wool and the weight of me and my cunning. And the 



232 HOMER 

strong Polyphemus laid his hands on him and spake to him 
saying: 

* " Dear ram, wherefore, I pray thee, art thou the last of 
all the flocks to go forth from the cave, who of old wast not 
wont to lag behind the sheep, but wert ever the foremost 
to pluck the tender blossom of the pasture, faring with long 
strides, and wert still the first to come to the streams of the 
rivers, and first did long to return to the homestead in the 
evening? But now art thou the very last. Surely thou art 
sorrowing for the eye of thy lord, which an evil man blinded, 
with his accursed fellows, when he had subdued my wits 
with wine, even Noman, whom I say hath not yet escaped 
destruction. Ah, if thou couldst feel as I, and be endued 
with speech, to tell me where he shifts about to shun my 
wrath; then should he be smitten, and his brains be dashed 
against the floor here and there about the cave, and my 
heart be lightened of the sorrows which Noman, nothing 
worth, hath brought mei " 

* Therewith he sent the ram forth from him, and when we 
had gone but a little way from the cave and from the yard, 
first P loosed myself from under the ram and then I set my 
fellows free. And swiftly we drave on those stiff-shanked 
sheep, so rich in fat, and often turned to look about, till we 
came to the ship. And a glad sight to our fellows were we 
that had fled from death, but the others they would have 
bemoaned with tears; howbeit I suffered it not, but with 
frowning brows forbade each man to weep. Rather I bade 
them to cast on board the many sheep with goodly fleece, 
and to sail over the salt sea water. So they embarked forth- 
with, and sate upon the benches, and sitting orderly smote 
the grey sea water with their oars. But when I had not 
gone so far, but that a man's shout might be heard, then 
I spoke unto the Cyclops taunting him : 

* " Cyclops, so thou wert not to eat the company of a 
weakling by main might in thy hollow cave! Thine evil 
deeds were very sure to find thee out, thou cruel man, who 
hadst no shame to eat thy guests within thy gates, wherefore 
Zeus hath requited th6e, and the other gods.'^ 

' So I spake, and he was mightily angered at heart, and 
he brake off the peak of a great hill and threw it at us, 



THE ODYSSEY 133 

and it fell in front of the dark-prowed ship.' And the sea 
heaved beneath the fall of the rock, and the backward flow of 
the wave bare the ship quickly to the dry land, with the wash 
from the deep sea, and drave it to the shore. Then I caught 
up a long pole in my hands, and thrust the ship from off the 
land, and roused my company, and with a motion of the head 
bade them dash in with their oars, that so we might escape 
our evil plight So they bent to their oars and rowed on. But 
when we had now made twice the distance over the brine, 
I would fain have spoken to the Cyclops, but my company 
stayed me on every side with soft words, saying : 

* " Foolhardy that thou art, why wouldst thou rouse a wild 
man to wrath, who even now hath cast so mighty a throw 
towards the deep and brought our ship back to land, yea and 
we thought that we had perished^ even there? If he had 
heard any of us utter sound or speech he would have crushed 
our heads and our ship timbers with a cast of a rugged stone, 
so mightily he hurls." 

* So spake they, but they prevailed not on my lordly spirit, 
and I answered him again from out an angry heart: 

* " Cyclops, if any one of mortal men shall ask thee of the 
unsightly blinding of thine eye, say that it was Odysseus that 
blinded it, the waster of cities, son of Laertes, whose dwelling 
is in Ithaca." 

* So I spake, and with a moan he answered me, saying : 
* " Lo now, in very truth the ancient oracles have come 

upon me. There lived here a soothsayer, a noble man and 
a mighty, Telemus, sOn of Eurymus, who surpassed all men 
in soothsaying, and waxed old as a seer among the Cyclopes. 
He told me that all these things should come to pass in the 
aftertime, even that I should lose my eyesight at the hand 
of Odysseus. But I ever looked for some tall and goodly 
man to come hither, clad in great might, but behold now one 
that is a dwarf, a man of no worth and a weakling, hath 
blinded me of m.y eye after subduing me with wine. Nay 
come hither, Odysseus, that I may set by thee a stranger's 

' We have omitted line 483, as required by the sense. It is introduced 
here from line 5^0. 

'Neither in this passage nor in B ii. 171 nor in B xx. 121 do we think 
that the aorist infinitive after a verb of saying can bear a future sense. 
The aorist infinitive after eAwwpi) (ii, 280, vii. 76) is hardly an argument 
in its favour; the infinitive there is in fact a noun in the genitive case. 



134 HOMEK 

cheer, and speed thy parting hence, that so the Earth-shaker 
may vouchsafe it thee, for his son am I, and he avows him 
for my father. And he himself will heal me, if it be his will ; 
and none other of the blessed gods or of mortal men." 

* Even so he spake, but I answered him, and said : " Would 
god that I were as sure to rob thee of soul and life, and send 
thee within the house of Hades, as I am that not even the 
Earth-shaker will heal thine eye ! " 

* So I spake, and then he prayed to the lord Poseidon 
stretching forth his hands to the starry heaven : " Hear me, 
Poseidon, girdler of the earth, god of the dark hair, if indeed 
I be thine, and thou avowest thee my sire, — grant that he may 
never come to his home, even Odysseus, waster of cities, the 
son of Laertes, whose dwelling is in Ithaca; yet if he is 
ordained to see his friends and come unto his well-builded 
house, and his own country, late may he come in evil case, 
with the loss of all his company, in the ship of strangers, 
and find sorrows in his house." 

* So he spake in prayer, and the god of the dark locks 
heard him. And once again he lifted a stone, far greater than 
the first, and with one swing he hurled it, and he put forth 
a measureless strength, and cast it but a little space behind 
the dark-prowed ship, and all but struck the end of the rudder. 
And the sea heaved beneath the fall of the rock, but the wave 
bare on the ship and drave it to the further shore. 

* But when we had now reached that island, where all our 
other decked ships abode together, and our company were 
gathered sorrowing, expecting us evermore, on our coming 
thither v/e ran our ship ashore upon the sand, and ourselves 
too stept forth upon the sea beach. Next we took forth the 
sheep of the Cyclops from out the hollow ship, and divided 
them, that none through me might go lacking his proper 
share. But the ram for me alone my goodly-greaved com- 
pany chose out, in the dividing of the sheep, and on the 
shore I offered him up to Zeus, even to the son of Cronos, 
who dwells in the dark clouds, and is lord of all, and I 
burnt the slices of the thighs. But he heeded not the 
sacrifice, but was devising how my decked ships and my 
dear company might perish utterly. Thus for that time we 
sat the livelong day, until the going down of the sun, feast- 



THE ODYSSEY 135 

ing on abundant flesh and sweet wine. And when the sun 
had sunk and darkness had come on, then we laid us to rest 
upon the sea beach. So soon as early Dawn shone forth, the 
rosy-fingered, I called to my company, and commanded them 
that they should themselves climb the ship and loose the 
haAvsers. So they soon embarked and sat upon the benches, 
and sitting orderly smote the grey sea water with their oars, 
* Thence we sailed onward stricken at heart, yet glad as 
men saved from death, albeit we had lost our dear com° 
panions. 




BOOKX 

Odysseus, Ms entertainment by Aeolus, of whom he received a fa!? 
wind for the present, and all the rest of the winds tied up in a bag; 
wMch his men untying, flew out, and carried him back to Aeolus, 
who refused to receive him. His adventure at Lestrygonia with 
Antiphates, where of twelve ships he lost eleven, men and all. 
How he went thence to the Isle of Aea, where half of his men were 
turned by Circe into swine, and how he went himself, and by the 
help of Hermes recovered them and stayed with Circe a year. 

|HEN we came to the isle Aeolian, where dwelt Aeolus, 
" son of Hippotas, dear to the deathless gods, in a 
floating island, and all about it is a wall of bronze 
unbroken, and the cliff runs up sheer from the sea. His 
twelve children too abide there in his halls, six daughters 
and six lusty sons; and, behold, he gave his daughters to 
his sons to wife. And they feast evermore by their dear 
father and their kind mother, and dainties innumerable lie 
ready to their hands. And the house is full of the savour 
of feasting, and the noise thereof rings round, yea in the 
courtyard, by day, and in the night they sleep each one by 
his chaste wife in coverlets and on jointed bedsteads. So 
then we came to their city and their goodly dwelling, and 
the king entreated me kindly for a whole month, and sought 
out each thing, Ilios and the ships of the Argives, and the 
return of the Achaeans. So I told him all the tale in order 
duly. But when I in turn took the word and asked of my 
journey, and bade him send me on my way, he too denied 
me not, but furnished an escort. He gave me a wallet, 
made of the hide of an ox of nine seasons old, which he 
let flay, and therein he bound the ways of all the noisy 
winds ; for him the son of Cronos made keeper of the winds, 
either to lull or to rouse what blasts he will. And he mada 
it fast in the hold of the ship with a shining silver thong, 
that not the faintest breath might escape. Then he sent 
lorth the blast of the West Wind to blow for me, to bear 

136 



THE ODYSSET 137 

otir ships and ourselves upon our way; but this he was 
never to bring to pass, for we were undone through our 
own heedlessness. 

* For nine whole days we sailed by night and day con- 
tinually, and now on the tenth day my native land came in 
sight, and already we were so near that we beheld the folk 
tending the beacon fires. Then over me there came sweet 
slumber in my weariness, for all the time I v/as holding the 
sheet, nor gave it to any of my company, that so we might 
come quicker to our own country. Meanwhile my company 
held converse together, and said that I was bringing home 
for myself gold and silver, gifts from Aeolus the high- 
hearted son of Hippotas. And thus would they speak look- 
ing each mxan to his neighbour : 

* " Lo now, how beloved he is and highly esteemed among 
all men, to the city and land of whomsoever he may come. 
Many are the goodly treasures he taketh with him out oi 
the spoil from Troy, while we who have fulfilled like 
journeying with him return homeward bringing with us but 
empty hands. And now Aeolus hath given unto him these 
things freely in his love. Nay come, let us quickly see 
what they are, even what wealth of gold and silver is in the 
wallet." 

' So they spake, and the evil counsel of my company pre- 
vailed. They loosed the wallet, and all the winds brake 
forth. And the violent blast seized my men, and bare them 
towards the high seas weeping, away from their own 
country; but as for me, I awoke and communed with my 
great heart, whether I should cast myself from the ship and 
perish in the deep, or endure in silence and abide yet among 
the living. Howbeit I hardened my heart to endure, and 
muffling my head I lay still in the ship. But the vessels 
were driven by the evil storm-v/ind back to the isle Aeolian, 
and my company made moan. 

* There we stepped ashore and drew water, and my com- 
pany presently took their midday meal by the swift ships. 
Now when we had tasted bread and wine, I took with me a 
herald and one of my company, and went to the famous 
dwelling of Aeolus: and I fotmd him feasting with his 
mfe and children. So we went in and sat by the pillars 



138 HOMER 

of the door on the threshold, and they all marvelled and 
asked us: 

'"How hast thou come hither, Odysseus? What evil 
god assailed thee? Surely we sent thee on thy way with all 
diligence, that thou mightest get thee to thine own country 
and thy home, and whithersoever thou wouldest." 

' Even so they said, but I spake among them heavy at 
heart : " My evil company hath been my bane, and sleep 
thereto remorseless. Come, my friends, do ye heal the harm, 
for yours is the power." 

* So I spake, beseeching them in soft words, but they held 
their peace. And the father ansv/ered, saying : " Get thee 
forth from the island straightway, thou that art the most 
reprobate of living men. Far be it from me to help or to 
further that man whom the blessed gods abhor ! Get thee 
forth, for lo, thy coming marks thee hated by the deathless 
gods." 

* Therewith he sent me forth from the house making heavy 
moan. Thence we sailed onwards stricken at heart. And 
the spirit of the men was spent beneath the grievous rowing 
by reason of our vain endeavour, for there v/as no more any 
sign of a wafting wind. So for the space of six days we 
sailed by night and day continually, and on the seventh 
we came to the steep stronghold of Lamos, Telepylos of the 
Laestrygons, where herdsman hails herdsman as he drives 
in his flock, and the other who drives forth answers the 
call. There might a sleepless man have earned a double 
wage, the one as neat-herd, the other shepherding white 
flocks: so near are the outgoings of the night and of the 
day. Thither when we had come to the fair haven, where- 
about on both sides goes one steep cliff unbroken, and 
jutting headlands over against each other stretch forth to the 
mouth of the harbour, and strait is the entrance; thereinto 
all the others steered their curved ships. Now the vessels 
were bound within the hollow harbour each hard by other, 
for no wave ever swelled within it, great or small, but 
there was a bright calm all around. But I alone moored 
my dark ship without the harbour, at the uttermost point 
thereof, and made fast the hawser to a rock. And I went 
up a craggy hill, a place of out-look, and stood thereon s 



THE ODYSSEY 139 

thence there was no sign of the labour of men or oxen, 
only we saw the smoke curling upward from the land. 
Then I sent forth certain of my company to go and search 
out what manner of men they were who here live upon the 
earth by bread, choosing out two of my company and send- 
ing a third with them as herald. Now when they had gone 
ashore, they went along a level road whereby wains were 
wont to draw down wood from the high hills to the town. 
And without the town they fell in with a damsel drawing 
water, the noble daughter of Laestrygonian Antiphates. She 
had come down to the clear-flowing spring Artacia, for 
thence it was custom to draw water to the town. So they 
stood by her and spake unto her, and asked who was king 
of that land, and who they were he ruled over. Then at 
once she showed them the high-roofed hall of her father. 
Now when they had entered the renowned house, they found 
his wife therein: she was huge of bulk as a mountain peak 
and was loathly in their sight. Straightway she called the 
renowned Antiphates, her lord, from the assembly-place, and 
he contrived a pitiful destruction for my men. Forthwith 
he clutched up one of my company and made ready his 
midday meal, but the other twain sprang up and came in 
flight to the ships. Then he raised the war cry through the 
town, and the valiant Laestrygons at the sound thereof, 
flocked together from every side, a host past number, not 
like men but like the Giants. They cast at us from the 
cliffs with great rocks, each of them a man's burden, and 
anon there arose from the fleet an evil din of men dying and 
ships shattered withal. And like folk spearing fishes they 
bare home their hideous meal. While as yet they were 
slaying my friends within the deep harbour, I drew my sharp 
sword from my thigh, and with it cut the hawsers of my 
dark-prowed ship. Quickly then I called to my company, 
and bade them dash in with the oars, that we might clean 
escape. -this evil plight. And all with one accord they tossed 
the sea v/ater with the oar-blade, in dread of death, and to 
my delight m.y barque flew forth to the high seas away from 
the beetling rocks, but those other ships were lost there, 
one and all. 
* Thence we sailed onward stricken at heart, yet glad as 



140 HOMER 

men saved from death, albeit we had lost our dear com- 
panions. 

* And we came to the isle Aeaean, where dwelt Circe 
of the braided tresses, an awful goddess of mortal speech, 
own sister to the wizard Aeetes. Both were begotten 
of Helios, who gives light to all men, and their mother 
was Perse, daughter of Oceanus. There on the shore we 
put in with our ship into the sheltering haven silently, and 
some god was our guide. Then we stept ashore, and for 
two days and two nights lay there, consuming our own 
hearts for weariness and pain. But when now the fair- 
tressed Dawn had brought the full light of the third day, 
then did I seize my spear and my sharp sword, and quickly 
departing from the ship I went up unto a place of wide pros- 
pect, if haply I might see any sign of the labour of men and 
hear the sound of their speech. So I went up a craggy hill, a 
place of out-look, and I saw the smoke rising from the broad- 
wayed earth in the halls of Circe, through the thick coppice 
and the woodland. Then I mused in my mind and heart 
whether I should go and make discovery, for that I had seen 
the smoke and flame. And as I thought thereon this seemed 
to me the better counsel, to go first to the swift ship and to 
the sea-banks, and give my company their m^idday meal, and 
then send them to make search. But as I came and drew 
nigh to the curved ship, some god even then took pity on me 
in my loneliness, and sent a tall antlered stag across my very 
path. He was coming down from his pasture in the wood- 
land to the river to drink, for verily the might of the sun 
was sore upon him. And as he came up from out of the 
stream, I smote him on the spine in the middle of the back, 
and the brazen shaft went clean through him, and with a 
moan he fell in the dust, and his life passed from him. Then 
I set my foot on him and drew forth the brazen shaft from 
the wound, and laid it hard by upon the ground and let it lie. 
Next I broke withies and willow twigs, and wove me a rope 
a fathom in length, well twisted from end to end, and bound 
together the feet of the huge beast, and went to the black 
ship bearing him across my neck, and leaning on a spear, for 
it was in no wise possible to carry him on my shoulder with 
the one hand, for he was a mighty quarry. And I threw him 



THE ODYSSEY 141 

down before the ship and roused my company with soft 
words, standing by each man in turn: 

* " Friends, for all our sorrows we shall not yet a while go 
down to the house of Hades, ere the coming of the day of 
destiny; go to then, while as yet there is meat and drink 
in the swift ship, let us take thought thereof, that we be not 
famished for hunger." 

* Even so I spake, and they speedily hearkened to my 
words. They immuffled their heads, and there on the shore 
of the unharvested sea gazed at the stag, for he was a 
mighty quarry. But after they had delighted their eyes 
with the sight of him, they washed their hands and got ready 
the glorious feast. So for that time we sat the livelong day 
till the going down of the sun, feasting on abundant flesh 
and sweet wine. But when the sun sank and darkness had 
come on, then we laid us to rest upon the sea beach. So 
soon as early Dawn shone forth, the rosy-fingered, I called 
a gathering of my men and spake in the ears of them all: 

' " Hear my words, my fellows, despite your evil case. My 
friends, lo, now we know not where is the place of dark- 
ness or of dawning, nor where the Sun, that gives light to 
men, goes beneath the earth, nor where he rises; therefore 
let us advise us speedily if any counsel yet may be: as for 
me, I deem there is none. For I went up a craggy hill, a 
place of out-look, and saw the island crowned about with the 
circle of the endless sea, the isle itself lying low; and in 
the midst thereof mine eyes beheld the smoke through the 
thick coppice and the woodland." 

' Even so I spake, but their spirit within them was broken, 
as they remembered the deeds of Antiphates the Laestry- 
gonian, and all the evil violence of the haughty Cyclops, the 
man-eater. So they wept aloud shedding big tears. Howbeit 
no avail came of their weeping. 

'Then I numbered my goodly-greaved company in two 
bands, and appointed a leader for each, and I myself took 
the command of the one part, and godlike Eurylochus of 
the other. And anon we shook the lots in a brazen-fitted 
helmet, and out leapt the lot of proud Eurylochus. So 
he went on his way, and with him two and twenty of my 
fellowship all weeping; and we were left behind makin|^ 



142 HOMER 

lament. In the forest glades they found the halls of Circe 
builded, of polished stone, m a place with wide prospect. 
And all around the palace mountain-bred wolves and lions 
were roaming, whom she herself had bewitched with evil 
drugs that she gave them. Yet the beasts did not set on 
my men, but lo, they ramped about them and fawned on 
them, wagging their long tails. And as when dogs fawn 
about their lord when he comes from the feast, for he always 
brings them the fragments that soothe their mood, even so 
the strong-clawxd wolves and the lions fawned around them ; 
but they were affrighted when they saw the strange and 
terrible creatures. So they stood at the outer gate of the 
fair-tressed goddess, and within they heard Circe singing in 
a sweet voice, as she fared to and fro before the great web 
imperishable, such as is the handiwork of goddesses, fine 
of v/oof and full of grace and splendour. Then Polites, a 
leader of men, the dearest to me and the trustiest of all 
my company, first spake to them: 

* " Friends, forasmuch as there is one within that fares 
to and fro before a mxighty web singing a sweet song, so 
that all the floor of the hall makes echo, a goddess she i« 
or a woman; come quickly and cry aloud to her." 

* He spake the word and they cried aloud and called to 
her. And straightway she came forth and opened the shining 
doors and bade them in, and all went with her in their 
heedlessness. But Eurylochus tarried behind, for he guessed 
that there was some treason. So she led them in and set 
them upon chairs and high seats, and made them a mess 
of cheese and barley-meal and yellow honey with Pramnian 
wine, and mixed harmful drugs with the food to make them 
utterly forget their own country. Now when she had given 
them the cup and they had drunk it off, presently she smote 
them with a wand, and in the styes of the swine she penned 
them. So they had the head and voice, the bristles and the 
shape of swine, but their mind abode even as of old. Thus 
were they penned there weeping, and Circe flung them 
acorns and mast and fruit of the cornel tree to eat, whereon 
wallowing swine do always batten. 

*Now Eurylochus came back to the swift black ship to 
bring tidings of his fellows, and of their unseemly doom. 



THE ODYSSEy 143 

Not a word could he utter, for all his desire, so deeply 
smitten was he to the heart with grief, and his eyes were 
filled with tears and his soul was fain of lamentation. But 
when we all had pressed him with our questions in amaze- 
ment, even then he told the fate of the remnant of our com- 
pany. 

' " We went, as thou didst command, through the coppice, 
noble Odysseus: we found within the forest glades the fair 
halls, builded of polished stone, in a place with wide pros- 
pect. And there was one that fared before a mighty web 
and sang a clear song, a goddess she was or a woman, 
and they cried aloud and called to her. And straightway 
she came forth, and opened the shining doors and bade 
them in, and they all went with her in their heedlessness. 
But I tarried behind, for I guessed that there was some 
treason. Then they vanished away one and all, nor did 
any of them appear again, though I sat long timie watching." 

' So spake he, whereon I cast about my shoulder my sil- 
ver-studded sword, a great blade of bronze, and slung my 
bow about me and bade him lead me again by the way 
that he came. But he caught me with both hands, and by 
my knees he besought me, and bewailing him spake to me 
winged words: 

' " Lead me not thither against my will, oh fosterling of 
Zeus, but leave me here ! For well I know thou shalt thyself 
return no m.ore, nor bring any one of all thy fellowship ; nay, 
let us flee the swifter wdth those that be here, for even yet 
may we escape the evil day." 

* On this wise he spake, but I answered him, saying: 
" Eurylochus, abide for thy part here in this place, eating 
and drinking by the black hollow ship: but I will go forth, 
for a strong constraint is laid on me." 

'With that I went up from the ship and the sea-shore. 
But lo, when in my faring through the sacred glades I v/as 
now drawing near to the great hall of the enchantress Circe, 
then did Hermes, of the golden wand, meet me as I ap- 
proached the house, in the likeness of a young m^an with 
the first down on his lip, the time when youth is most 
gracious. So he clasped my hand and spake and hailed me: 

* " Ah, hapless man^ whither away again, all alone through 



144 HOMER 

the wolds, thou that knowest not this country? And thy 
company yonder in the hall of Circe are penned in the giiise 
of swine, in their deep lairs abiding. Is it in hope to free 
them that thou art come hither? Nay, methinks, thou thy- 
self shalt never return but remain there with the others. 
Come then, I will redeem thee from thy distress, and bring 
deliverance. Lo, take this herb of virtue, and go to the 
dwelling of Circe, that it may keep from thy head the evil 
day. And I will tell thee all the magic sleight of Circe. 
She will mix thee a potion and cast drugs into the mess; 
but not even so shall she be able to enchant thee ; so helpful 
is this charmed herb that I shall give thee, and I will tell 
thee all. When it shall be that Circe smites thee with her 
long wand, even then draw thou thy sharp sword from> thy 
thigh, and spring on her, as one eager to slay her. And 
she will shrink away and be instant with thee to lie with 
her. Thenceforth disdain not thou the bed of the goddess, 
that she may deliver thy company and kindly entertain thee. 
But command her to swear a mighty oath by the blessed 
gods, that she will plan nought else of mischief to thine own 
hurt, lest she make thee a dastard and unmanned, when she 
hath thee naked." 

' Therewith the slayer of Argos gave me the plant that he 
had plucked from the ground, and he shov/ed me the growth 
thereof. It was black at the root, but the flower was like to 
milk. Moly the gods call it, but it is hard for mortal men to 
dig ; howbeit with the gods all things are possible. 

* Then Hermes departed toward high Olympus, up through 
the woodland isle, but as for me I held on my way to the 
house of Circe, and my heart was darkly troubled as I went. 
So I halted in the portals of the fair-tressed goddess; there 
I stood and called aloud and the goddess heard my voice, 
who presently came forth and opened the shining doors and 
bade me in, and I went w^ith her heavy at heart. So she led 
me in and set me on a chair with studs of silver, a goodly 
carven chair, and beneath was a footstool for the feet. And 
she made me a potion in a golden cup, that I might drink, 
and she also put a charm therein, in the evil counsel of her 
heart. 

'Now when she had given it and I had drunk if oB 



THE ODYSSEY 145 

ar.d was not bewitched, she smote me with her wand and 
spake and hailed me : 

'"Go thy way now to the stye, couch thee there with the 
rest of thy company." 

* So spake she, but I drew my sharp sword from my thigh 
and sprang upon Circe, as one eager to slay her. But with 
a great cry she slipped under, and clasped my knees, and 
bewailing herself spake to me winged words : 

' " Who art thou of the sons of men, and whence? Where 
is thy city? Where are they that begat thee? I marvel to 
see how thou hast drunk of this charm, and wast nowise sub- 
dued. Nay, for there lives no man else that is proof against 
this charm, whoso hath drunk thereof, and once it hath 
passed his lips. But thou hast, methinks, a mind within 
thee that m^ay not be enchanted. Verily thou art Odysseus, 
ready at need, whom he of the golden wand, the slayer of 
Argos, full often told m.e was to come hither, on his way 
from Troy with his swift black ship. Nay come, put thy sword 
into the sheath, and thereafter let us go up into my bed, 
that meeting in love and sleep we may trust each the other." 
' So spake she, but I answered her, saying : " Nay, Circe, 
how canst thou bid me be gentle to thee, who hast turned 
my company into swine within thy halls, and holding me 
here with a guileful heart requirest me to pass within thy 
chamber and go up into thy bed, that so thou mayest make 
me a dastard and unmanned when thou hast me naked? 
Nay, never will I consent to go up into thy bed, except 
thou wilt deign, goddess, to swear a mighty oath, that thou 
wilt plan nought else of mischief to mine own hurt." 

* So I spake, and she straightway swore the oath not to 
harm me, as I bade her. But when she had sworn and had 
done that oath, then at last I went up into the beautiful bed 
of Circe. 

* Now all this while her handmaids busied them in the 
halls, four maidens that are her serving women in the house. 
They are born of the wells and of the woods and of the holy 
rivers, that flow forward into the salt sea. Of these one cast 
upon the chairs goodly coverlets of purple above, and spread 
a linen cloth thereunder. And lo, another drew up silver 
tables to the chairs, and thereon set for them golden baskets. 



146 HOMER / 

And a third mixed sweet honey-hearted wine in a silver bowl, 
and set out cups of gold. And a fourth bare water, and 
kindled a great fire beneath the mighty cauldron. So ihe 
water waxed warm ; but when it boiled in the bright brazen 
vessel, she set me in a bath and bathed me with water from 
out a great cauldron, pouring it over head and shoulders, 
when she had mixed it to a pleasant warmth, till from my 
limbs she took away the consuming weariness. Now after 
she had bathed me and anointed me well with olive oil, and 
cast about me a fair mantle and a doublet, she led me into 
the halls and set me on a chair with studs of silver, a goodly 
carven chair, and beneath was a footstool for the feet. And 
a handmaid bare water for the hands in a goodly golden 
ewer, and poured it forth over a silver basin to wash withal ; 
and to my side she drew a polished table, and a grave dame 
bare wheaten bread and set it by me, and laid on the board 
many dainties, giving freely of such things as she had by 
her. And she bade me eat, but my soul found no pleasure 
therein. I sat with other thoughts, and my heart had a 
boding of ill. 

* Now when Circe saw that I sat thus, and that I put not 
forth my hands to the meat, and that I was mightily afflicted, 
she drew near to me and spake to me winged words: 

* " Wherefore thus, Odysseus, dost thou sit there like a 
speechless man, consuming thine own soul, and dost not 
touch meat nor drink ? Dost thou indeed deem there is some 
further guile? Nay, thou hast no cause to fear, for already 
I have sworn thee a strong oath not to harm thee." 

' So spake she, but I ansv>^ered her, saying : " Oh, Circe, 
what righteous man would have the heart to taste meat and 
drink ere he had redeemed his company, and beheld them 
face to face? But if in good faith thou biddest me eat and 
drink, then let them go free, that mine eyes may behold my 
dear companions." 

* So I spake, and Circe passed out through the hall with the 
wand in her hand, and opened the doors of the stye, and 
drave them forth in the shape of swine of nine seasons old. 
There they stood before her, and she went through their 
midst, and anointed each one of them with another charm. 
And lo, from their limbs the bristles dropped away, where- 



THE ODYSSEY 147 

With the venom had erewhile clothed them, that lady Circe 
gave them. And they became men again, younger than 
before they v/ere, and goodlier far, and taller to behold. 
And they all knew me again and each one took my hands, 
and wistful was the lament that sank into their souls, and 
the roof around rang wondrously. And even the goddess 
herself was moved with compassion. 

' Then standing nigh me the fair goddess spake unto me : 
" Son of Laertes, of the seed of Zeus, Odysseus of many 
devices, depart now to thy swift ship and the sea-banks. 
And first of all, draw ye up the ship ashore, and bestow the 
goods in the caves and all the gear. And thyself return 
again, and bring with thee thy dear companions." 

' So spake she, and my lordly spirit consented thereto. 
So I went on my way to the swift ship and the sea-banks, 
and there I found my dear company on the swift ship 
lamenting piteously, shedding big tears. And as when calves 
of the homestead gather round the droves of kine that have 
returned to the yard, when they have had their fill of pasture, 
and all with one accord frisk before them, and the folds may 
no more contain them, but with a ceaseless lowing they skip 
about their dams, so flocked they all about me weeping, when 
their eyes beheld me. Yea, and to their spirit it was as 
though they had got to their dear country, and the very city 
of rugged Ithaca, where they were born and reared. 

* Then making lament they spake to me winged words : 
" O fosterling of Zeus, we were none otherwise glad at thy 
returning, than if we had come to Ithaca, our own country. 
Nay come, of our other companions tell us the tale of their 
ruin." 

* So spake they, but I answered them with soft wards : 
" Behold, let us first of all draw up the ship ashore, and 
bestow our goods in the caves and all our gear. And do 
ye bestir you, one and all, to go with me, that ye may see 
your fellows in the sacred dwelling of Circe, eating and 
drinking, for they have continual store." 

* So spake I, and at once they hearkened to my words, 
but Eurylochus alone would have holden all my companions, 
and uttering his voice he spake to them winged words: 

*" Wretched men that we are! whither are we going? 



148 HOMER 

Why are your hearts so set on sorrow that ye should go 
down to the hall of Circe, who will surely change us all to 
swine, or wolves, or lions, to guard her great house perforce, 
according to the deeds that the Cyclops wTought, when 
certain of our company went to his inmost fold, and with 
them went Odysseus, ever hardy, for through the blindness 
of his heart did they too perish ? " 

* So spake he, but I mused in my heart whether to draw 
my long hanger from my stout thigh, and therewith smite off 
his head and bring it to the dust, albeit he was very near of 
kin to me, but the men of miy company stayed me on every 
side with soothing words: 

' " Prince of the seed of Zeus, as for this man, we will 
suffer him, if thou wilt have it so, to abide here by the 
ship and guard the ship; but as for us, be our guide to 
the sacred house of Circe." 

* So they spake and went up from the ship and the sea. 
Nay, nor yet was Eurylochus left by the hollow ship, but he 
went with us, for he feared my terrible rebuke. 

* Meanwhile Circe bathed the rest of my company in her 
halls with all care, and anointed them well with olive 
oil and cast thick mantles and doublets about them. And 
we found them all feasting nobly in the halls. And when 
they saw and knew each other face to face, they wept and 
mourned, and the house rang around. Then she stood near 
me, that fair goddess, and spake saying: 

* " Son of Laertes, of the seed of Zeus, Odysseus of many 
devices, no more now wake this plenteous weeping : myself I 
know of all the pains ye endured upon the teeming deep, and 
the great despite done you by unkindly men upon the land. 
Nay come, eat ye meat and drink wine, till your spirit shall 
return to you again, as it was when first ye left your own 
country of rugged Ithaca ; but now are ye wasted and want- 
ing heart, mindful evermore of your sore wandering, nor 
has your heart ever been merry, for very grievous hath been 
your trial." * 

* So spake she, and our lordly spirit consented thereto. 
So there we sat day by day for the full circle of a year, 
feasting on abundant flesh and sweet wine. But when now 
a year had gone, and the seasons returned as the months 



TKE ODYSSEY 149 

waned, and the long days came in their course, then did 
my dear company call me forth, and say : 

^ " Good sirj now is it high time to mind thee of thy native 
land, if it is ordained that thou shalt be saved, and come to 
thy lofty house and thine own country." 

' So spake they and my lordly spirit consented thereto. 
So for that time we sat the livelong day till the going down 
of the sun, feasting on abundant flesh and sweet wine. But 
v/hen the sun sank and darkness came on, they laid them to 
rest throughout the shadowy halls. 

' But when I had gone up into the fair bed of Circe, I 
besought her by her knees, and the goddess heard my speech, 
and uttering my voice I spake to her winged words : " Circe, 
fulfil for me the promise which thou m.adest me to send 
me on my homeward way. Now is my spirit eager to be 
gone, and the spirit of my company, that v/ear away my 
heart as they mourn around me, when haply thou art gone 
from us." 

' So spake I, and the fair goddess answered me anon : 
" Son of Laertes, of the seed of Zeus, Odysseus of many 
devices, tarry ye now no longer in my house against your 
will; but first must ye perform another journey, and reach 
the dwelling of Hades and of dread Persephone to seek to 
the spirit of Theban Teiresias, the blind soothsayer, whose 
wits abide steadfast. To him Persephone hath given judg- 
ment, even in death, that he alone should have under- 
standing ; but the other souls sweep shadow-like around." 

' Thus spake she, but as for me, my heart was broken, 
and I wept as I sat upon the bed, and my soul had no more 
care to live and to see the sunlight. But when I had my fill 
of weeping and grovelling, then at the last I answered and 
spake unto her saying: "And who, Circe, will guide us 
on this way? for no man ever yet sailed to hell in a black 
ship." 

* So spake I, and the fair goddess answered me anon : 
" Son of Laertes, of the seed of Zeus, Odysseus of many 
devices, nay, trouble not thyself for want of a guide, by thy 
ship abiding, but set up the mast and spread abroad the 
white sails and sit thee down; and the breeze of the North 
Wind will bear thy vessel on her way. But wh^n thou 



ISO HOMER 

hast now sailed In thy ship across the stream Oceanus, 
where is a waste shore and the groves of Persephone, even 
tall poplar trees and willows that shed their fruit before 
the season, there beach thy ship by deep eddying Oceanus, 
but go thyself to the dank house of Hades. Thereby into 
Acheron flows Pyriphlegethon, and Cocytus, a branch of 
the water of the Styx, and there is a rock, and the meeting 
of the two roaring waters. So, hero, draw nigh thereto, 
as I command thee, and dig a trench as it were a cubit in 
length and breadth, and about it pour a drink-offering to 
all the dead, first with mead and thereafter with sweet wine, 
and for the third time with water, and sprinkle white meal 
thereon and entreat with many pra3^ers the strengthless 
heads of the dead, and promise that on thy return to Ithaca 
thou wilt offer in thy halls a barren heifer, the best thou 
hast, and wilt fill the pyre with treasure, and wilt sacrifice 
apart, to Teiresias alone, a black ram without spot, the 
fairest of your flock. But when thou hast with prayers made 
supplication to the lordly races of the dead, then offer up a 
ram and a black ewe, bending their heads towards Erebus 
and thyself turn thy back, with thy face set for the shore of 
the river. Then will many spirits come to thee of the dead 
that be departed. Thereafter thou shalt call to thy company 
and command them to flay the sheep which even now lie 
slain by the pitiless sword, and to consume them with fire, 
and to make prayer to the gods, to mighty Hades and to 
dread Persephone. And thyself draw the sharg sword from 
thy thigh and sit there, suffering not the strengthless heads of 
the dead to draw nigh to the blood, ere thou hast word of 
Teiresias. Then the seer will come to thee quickly, leader 
of the people; he will surely declare to thee the way and 
the measure of thy path, and as touching thy returning, 
how thou mayst go over the teeming deep." 

' So spake she, and anon came the golden throned Dawn. 
Then she put on me a mantle and a doublet for raiment, and 
the nymph clad herself in a great shining robe, light of woof 
and gracious, and about her waist she cast a fair golden 
girdle, and put a veil upon her head. But I passed through 
the halls and roused my men with smooth words, standing 
fey each one in turn: 



THE ODYSSEY 151 

* " Sleep ye now no more nor breathe sweet slumber ; but 
let us go on our way, for surely she hath shown me all, the 
lady Circe." 

' So spake I, and their lordly soul consented thereto. Yet 
even thence I led not my company safe away. There was 
one, Elpenor, the youngest of us ell, not very valiant in 
war, neither steadfast in mind. He was lying apart from the 
rest of my men on the housetop of Circe's sacred dwelling, 
very fain of the cool air, as one heavy with wine. Now 
when he heard the noi^e of the voices and of the feet of my 
fellov/s as they moved to and fro, he leaped up of a sudden 
and minded him not to descend again by the way of the tall 
ladder, but fell right down from the roof, and his neck was 
broken from the bones of the spine, and his spirit went down 
to the house of Hades. 

' Then I spake among my men as they went on their way, 
saying : " Ye deem now, I see, that ye are going to your 
own dear country; but Circe hath showed us another way, 
even to the dwelling of Hades and of dread Persephone, to 
seek to the spirit of Theban Teiresias." 

' Even so I spake, but their heart within them was broken, 
and they sat them down even where they were, and made 
lament and tore their hair. Howbeit no help came of their 
weeping. 

* But as we were now wending sorrowful to the swift 
ship and the sea-banks, shedding big tears, Circe meanwhile 
had gone her ways and made fast a ram and a black ewe by 
the dark ship, lightly passing us by: who may behold a 
god against his will, whether going to or fro?. 




BOOK XI 

Odysseus, his descent into hell, and discourses with the ghosts of 

the deceased heroes. 

'OW when we had gone down to the ship and to the 
sea, first of all we drew the ship unto the fair salt 
water and placed the mast and sails in the black ship, 
and took those sheep and put them therein, and ourselves 
too climbed on board, sorrowing, and shedding big tears. 
And in the wake of our dark-prowed ship she sent a favour- 
ing wind that filled the sails, a kindly escort,-~even Circe 
of the braided tresses, a dread goddess of human speech. 
And we set in order all the gear throughout the ship and sat 
us down ; and the wind and the helmsman guided our barque. 
And all day long her sails were stretched in her seafaring; 
and the sun sank and all the ways were darkened. 

* She came to the limits of the world, to the deep-flowing 
Oceanus. There is the land and the city of the Cimmerians, 
shrouded in mist and cloud, and never does the shining sun 
look down on them with his rays, neither when he climbs 
up the starry heavens, nor when again he turns earthward 
from the firmament, but deadly night is outspread over miser- 
able mortals. Thither we came and ran the ship ashore 
and took out the sheep; but for our part we held on our 
way along the stream of Oceanus, till we came to the place 
which Circe had declared to us. 

* There Perimedes and Eurylochus held the victims, but I 
drew my sharp sword from my thigh, and dug a pit, as it 
were a cubit in length and breadth, and about it poured a 
drink-offering to all the dead, first with mead and there- 
after with sweet wine, and for the third time with water. 
And I sprinkled white meal thereon, and entreated with many 
prayers the strengthless heads of the dead, and promised 
that cm my return to Ithaca I would offer in my halls a 

152 



THE ODYSSEY 153 

barren heifer, the best I had, and fill the pyre with treasure, 
and apart unto Teiresias alone sacrifice a black ram without 
spot, the fairest of my flock. But when I had besought the 
tribes of the dead with vows and prayers, I took the sheep 
and cut their throats over the trench, and the dark blood 
flowed forth, and lo, the spirits of the dead that be departed 
gathered them from out of Erebus. Brides and youths un- 
wed, and old men of many and evil days, and tender maidens 
with grief yet fresh at heart ; and many there were, wounded 
with bronze-shod spears, men slain in fight with their bloody 
mail about them. And these many ghosts flocked together 
from every side about the trench with a wondrous cry, and 
pale fear gat hold of me. Then did I speak to my company 
and command them to flay the sheep that lay slain by the 
pitiless sword, and to consume them with fire, and to make 
prayer to the gods, to mighty Hades and to dread Perseph- 
one, and myself I drew the sharp sword from my thigh and 
sat there, suffering not the strengthless heads of the dead 
to draw nigh to the blood, ere I had word of Teiresias. 

* And first came the soul of Elpenor, my companion, that 
had not yet been buried beneath the wide-wayed earth; for 
we left the corpse behind us in the hall of Circe, unwept 
and unburied, seeing that another task was instant on us. 
At the sight of him I wept and had compassion on him, and 
uttering my voice spake to him winged words : " Elpenor, 
how hast thou come beneath the darkness and the shadow? 
Thou hast come fleeter on foot than I in my black ship." 

* So spake I, and with a moan he answered me, saying : 
" Son of Laertes, of the seed of Zeus, Odysseus of many 
devices, an evil doom of some god was my bane and wine 
out of measure. When I laid me down on the house-top of 
Circe I minded me not to descend again by the way of the 
tall ladder, but fell right down from the roof, and my neck 
was broken off from the bones of the spine, and my spirit 
went down to the house of Hades. And now I pray thee in the 
name of those whom we left, who are no more with us, thy 
wife, and thy sire who cherished thee when as yet thou wert 
a little one, and Telemachus, whom thou didst leave in thy 
halls alone; forasmuch as I know that on thy way hence from 
out the dwelling of Hades, thou wilt stay thy well-wrought 



154 HOMER 

ship at the isle Aeaean, even then, my lord, T charge thee 
to think on me. Leave me not unwept and unburied as thou 
goest hence, nor turn thy back upon me, lest haply I bring 
on thee the anger of the gods. Nay, burn me there with 
mine armour, all that is mine, and pile me a barrow on the 
shore of the grey sea, the grave of a luckless man, that even 
men unborn may hear my story. Fulfil me this and plant 
upon the barrow mine oar, wherewith I rowed in the days 
of my life, while yet I was among my fellows." ,^ 

' Even so he spake, and I answered him saying: "All this, 
luckless man, will I perform for thee and do." 

' Even so we twain were sitting holding sad discourse, I 
on the one side, stretching forth my sword over the blood, 
while on the other side the ghost of my friend told all his 
tale. 

'Anon came up the soul of my mother dead, Anticleia, 
the daughter of Autolycus the great hearted, whom I left 
alive when I departed for sacred Ilios. At the sight of her 
I wept, and was moved with compassion, yet even so, for all 
my sore grief, I suffered her not to draw nigh to the blood, 
ere I had word of Teiresias. 

*Anon came the soul of Theban Teiresias, with a golden 
sceptre in his hand, and he knew me and spake unto me: 
" Son of Laertes, of the seed of Zeus, Odysseus of many 
devices, what seekest thou now^ v\/retched man, wherefore 
hast thou left the sunlight and come hither to behold the 
dead and a land desolate of joy? Nay, hold off from the 
ditch and draw back thy sharp sword, that I may drink of 
the blood and tell thee sooth." 

* So spake he and I put up my silver-studded sword into 
the sheath, and when he had drunk the dark blood, even 
then did the noble seer speak unto me saying : " Thou art 
asking of thy sweet returning, great Odysseus, but that will 
the god make hard for thee ; for methinks thou shalt not pass 
unheeded by the Shaker of the Earth, who hath laid up 
wrath in his heart against thee, for rage at the blinding of 
his dear son. Yet even so, through many troubles, ye may 
come home, if thou wilt restrain thy spirit and the spirit 
Oi thy men so soon as thou shalt bring thy well-wrought ship 
nigh to the isle Thrinacia, fleeing the sea of violet blue. 



THE ODYSSEY 155 

when ye find the herds of Helios grazing and his brave 
flocks, of Helios who overseeth all and overheareth all 
things. If thou doest these no hurt, being heedful of thy 
return, so may ye yet reach Ithaca, albeit in evil case. But 
if thou hurtest them, I foreshow ruin for thy ship and for 
thy men, and even though thou shalt thyself escape, late 
shalt thou return in evil plight, with the loss of all thy com- 
pany, on board the ship of strangers, and thou shalt find 
sorrows in thy house, even proud men that devour thy living, 
while they woo thy godlike wife and offer the gifts of 
wooing. Yet I tell thee, on thy coming thou shalt avenge 
their violence. But when thou hast slain the wooers in thy 
halls, whether by guile, or openly with the edge of the 
sword, thereafter go thy way, taking with thee a shapen oar, 
till thou shalt come to such men as know not the sea, neither 
eat meat savoured with salt; yea, nor have they knowledge 
of ships of purple cheek, nor shapen oars which serve for 
wings to ships. And I will give thee a most manifest token, 
which cannot escape thee. In the day when another way- 
farer shall meet thee and say that thou hast a winnowing fan 
on thy stout shoulder, even then make fast thy shapen oar 
in the earth and do goodly sacrifice to the lord Poseidon, 
even with a ram and a bull and a boar, the mate of swine, 
and depart for home and offer holy hecatombs to the death- 
less gods that keep the wide heaven, to each in order due. 
And from the sea shall thine own death come, the gentlest 
death that may be, which shall end thee foredone with 
smooth old age, and the folk shall dwell happily around 
thee. This that I say is sooth." 

* So spake he, and I answered him, saying". " Teiresias, 
all these threads, methinks, the gods themselves have spun. 
But come, declare me this and plainly tell me all. I see 
here the spirit of my mother dead; lo, she sits in silence 
near the blood, nor deigns to look her son in the face nor 
speak to him! Tell me, prince, how may she know me 
again that I am he?" 

' So spake I, and anon he answered me, and said : " I will 
tell thee an easy saying, and will put it in thy heart. 
Whomsoever of the dead that be departed thou shalt suffer 
to draw nigh to the blood, he shall tell thee sooth; but if 



156 HOMER 

thou shalt grudge any, that one shall go to his own place 
again." Therewith the spirit of the prince Teiresias went 
back within the house of Hades, when he had told all his 
oracles. But I abode there steadfastly, till my mother drew 
nigh and drank the dark blood; and at once she knew me, 
and bewailing herself spake to me winged words: 

' *' Dear child, how didst thou come beneath the darkness 
and the shadow, thou that art a living man? Grievous is 
the sight of these things to the living, for between us and 
you are great rivers and dreadful streams; first, Oceanus, 
which can no wise be crossed on foot, but only if one have 
a well-wrought ship. Art thou but now come hither with 
thy ship and thy company in thy long wanderings from 
Troy? and hast thou not yet reached Ithaca, nor seen thy; 
wife in thy halls?" 

' Even so she spake, and I answered her, and said : " O 
my mother, necessity was on ,me to come down to the house 
of Hades to seek to the spirit of Theban Teiresias. For not 
yet have I drawn near to the Achaean shore, nor yet have I 
set foot on m.ine own country, but have been wandering ever- 
more in affliction, from the day that first I went with goodly 
Agamemnon to Ilios of the fair steeds, to do battle with the 
Trojans. But come, declare me this and plainly tell it all. 
What doom overcame thee of death that lays men at their 
length? Was it a slow disease, or did Artemis the archer 
slay thee v»^ith the visitation of her gentle shafts? And tell 
me of my father and my son, that I left behind me; doth 
my honour yet abide with them, or hath another already 
taken it, while they say that I shall come home no more? 
And tell me of my wedded wife, of her counsel and her 
purpose, doth she abide with her son and keep all secure, 
or hath she already wedded the best of the Achaeans ? " 

* Even so I spake, and anon my lady mother answered 
me : " Yea verily, she abideth with steadfast spirit in thy 
halls; and wearily for her the nights wane always and 
the days in shedding of tears. But the fair honour that is 
thine no man hath yet taken ; but Telemachus sits at peace 
on his dem^esne, and feasts at equal banquets whereof it is 
meet that a judge partake, for all men bid him to their 
house. And thy father abides there in the field, and goes 



THE ODYSSEY 157 

not down to the town, nor lies he on bedding or rugs or 
shining blankets, but all the winter he sleeps, where 
sleep the thralls in the house, in the ashes by the fire, and is 
clad in sorry raiment. But when the summer comes and 
the rich harvest-tide, his beds of fallen leaves are strewn 
lowly all about the knoll of his vineyard plot. There he 
lies sorrowing and nurses his mighty grief, for long desire 
of thy return, and old age withal comes heavy upon him. 
Yea and even so did I too perish and meet my doom. It 
was not the archer goddess of the keen sight, who slew me in 
my halls with the visitation of her gentle shafts, nor did 
any sickness come upon me, such as chiefly with a sad 
wasting draws the spirit from the limbs ; nay, it was my sore 
longing for thee, and for thy counsels, great Odysseus, and 
for thy loving kindness, that reft m.e of sweet life." 

* So spake she, and I mused in my heart and would fain 
have embraced the spirit of my mother dead. Thrice I 
sprang towards her, and was minded to embrace her; thrice 
she flitted from my hands as a shadow or even as a 
dream, and sharp grief arose ever in my heart. And utter- 
ing my voice I spake to her winged words : 

* " Mother mine, wherefore dost thou not abide me who 
am eager to clasp thee, that even in Hades we twain may 
cast our arms each about the other, and have our fill of chill 
lament? Is this but a phantom that the high goddess Per- 
sephone hath sent me, to the end that I may groan for 
more exceeding sorrow ? " 

' So spake I, and my lady mother answered me anon : " Ah 
me, my child, of all men most ill-fated, Persephone, the 
daughter of Zeus, doth in no wise deceive thee, but even on 
this wise it is with mortals when they die. For the sinews 
no more bind together the flesh and the bones, but the great 
force of burning fire abolishes these, so soon as the life hath 
left the white bones, and the spirit like a dream flies forth 
and hovers near. But haste with all thine heart toward the 
sunlight, and mark all this, that even hereafter thou mayest 
tell it to thy wife." 

* Thus we twain held discourse together; and lo, the wo- 
men came up, for the high goddess Persephone sent them 
forth, all they that had been the wives and daughters of 



158 HOMER 

mighty men. And they gathered and flocked about the 
black blood, and I took counsel how I might question them 
each one. And this was the counsel that showed best in 
my sight. I drew my long hanger from my stalwart thigh, 
and suffered them not all at one time to drink of the 
dark blood. So they drew nigh one by one, and each de- 
clared her lineage, and I made question of all. 

' Then verily did I first see Tyro, sprung of a noble sire, 
who said that she was the child of noble Salmoneus, and 
declared herself the wife of Cretheus, son of Aeolus. She 
loved a river, the divine Enipeus, far the fairest of the 
floods that run upon the earth, and she would resort to the 
fair streams of Enipeus. And it came to pass that the 
girdler of the world, the Earth-shaker, put on the shape of 
the god, and lay by the lady at the m.ouths of the whirling 
stream. Then the dark wave stood around them like a 
hill-side bowed, and hid the god and the mortal woman. 
And he undid her maiden girdle, and shed a slumber over her. 
Now when the god had done the work of love, he clasped 
her hand and spake and hailed her: 

* " Woman, be glad in our love, and when the year comes 
round thou shalt give birth to glorious children,— 
for not weak are the embraces of the gods, — ^and do thou keep 
and cherish them. And now go home and hold thy peace, 
and tell it not: but behold, I am Poseidon, shaker of the 
earth." 

' Therewith he plunged beneath the heaving deep. And 
she conceived and bare Pelias and Neleus, who both grew 
to be mighty men, servants of Zeus. Pelias dwelt in wide 
lolcos, and was rich in flocks; and that other abode in 
sandy Pylos. And the queen of women bare yet other sons 
to Cretheus, even Aeson and Pheres and Amythaon, whose 
joy was in chariots. 

* And after her I saw Antiope, daughter of Asopus, and her 
boast was that she had slept even in the arms of Zeus, and 
she bare two sons, Amphion and Zethus, who founded first 
the place of seven-gated Thebes, and they made of it a 
fenced city, for they might not dwell in spacious Thebes 
unfenced, for all their valiancy. 

' Next to her I saw Alcmene, wife of Amphitryon, who lay 



THE ODYSSEY 159 

in the arms of mighty Zeus, and bare Heracles of the lion- 
heart, steadfast in the fight. And I saw Megara, daughter of 
Creon, haughty of heart, whom the strong and tireless son 
of Amphitryon had to wife. 

' And I saw the mother of Oedipodes, fair Epicaste, who 
wrought a dread deed unwittingly, being wedded to her own 
son, and he that had slain his own father wedded her, and 
straightway the gods made these things known to men. Yet 
he abode in pain in pleasant Thebes, ruling the Cadmaeans, 
by reason of the deadly counsels of the gods. But she went 
dov/n to the house of Hades, the mighty warder; yea, she 
tied a noose from the high beam aloft, being fast holden 
in sorrow; while for him she left pains behind full many, 
even all that the Avengers of a mother bring to pass. 

* And I saw lovely Chloris, whom Neleus wedded on a 
time for her beauty, and brought gifts of wooing past number. 
She was the youngest daughter of Amphion, son of lasus, 
v/ho once ruled mightily in Minyan Orchomenus. And she 
was queen of Pylos, and bare glorious children to her lord, 
Nestor and Chromius, and princely Periclymenus, and stately 
Pero too, the wonder of all men. Ail that dwelt around 
were her wooers ; but Neleus would not give her, save to him 
who should drive off from Phylace the kine of mighty 
Iphicles, with shambling gait and broad of brow, hard cattle 
to drive. And none but the noble seer^ took in hand to 
drive them; but a grievous fate from the gods fettered him, 
even hard bonds and the herdsmen of the wild. But v/hen 
at length the months and days were being fulfilled, as the 
year returned upon his course, and the seasons came round, 
then did mighty Iphicles set him free, when he had spoken 
out all the oracles; and herein was the counsel of Zeus 
being accomplished. 

* And I saw Lede, the famous bed-fellow of Tyndareus, 
who bare to Tyndareus two sons, hardy of heart, Castor 
tamer of steeds, and Polydeuces the boxer. These twain 
yet live, but the quickening earth is over them; and even 
in the nether world they have honour at the hand of Zeus, 
And they possess their life in turn, living one day and dying 
the next, and they have gotten worship even as the gods, 

*■ Mdampus. 



160 HOMER 

* And after her I beheld Iphimedeia, bed- fellow of Aloeus, 
who said that she had lain with Poseidon, and she bare 
children twain, but short of life were they, godlike Otus and 
far-famed Ephialtes. Now these were the tallest men that 
earth, the graingiver, ever reared, and far the goodliest after 
the renowned Orion. At nine seasons old they were o£ 
breadth nine cubits, and nine fathoms in height. They it 
was who threatened to raise even against the immortals in 
Olympus the din of stormy war. They strove to pile Ossa 
on Olympus, and on Ossa Pelion with the trembling forest 
leaves, that there might be a pathway to the sky. Yea, 
and they would have accomplished it, had they reached the 
full measure of manhood. But the son of Zeus, whom Leto 
of the fair locks bare, destroyed the twain, ere the down 
had bloomed beneath their temples, and darkened their chins 
with the blossom of youth. 

*And Phaedra and Procris I saw, and fair Ariadne, the 
daughter of wizard Minos, whom Theseus on a time was 
bearing from Crete to the hill of sacred Athens, yet had 
he no joy of her; for Artemis slew her ere that in sea-girt 
Dia, by reason of the witness of Dionysus. 

* And Maera and Clymene I saw, and hateful Eriphyle, 
who took fine gold for the price of her dear lord's life. 
But I cannot tell or name all the wives and daughters of 
the heroes that I saw; ere that, the immortal night would 
wane. Nay, it is even now time to sleep, whether I go to 
the swift ship to my company or abide here: and for my 
convoy you and the gods will care.' 

So spake he, and dead silence fell on all, and they were 
spell-bound throughout the shadowy halls. Then Arete of the 
white arms first spake among them : ' Phaeacians, what think 
you of this man for comeliness and stature, and within for 
wisdom of heart? Moreover he is my guest, though every 
one of you hath his share in this honour. Wherefore haste 
not to send him hence, and stint not these your gifts for 
one that stands in such sore need of them; for ye have 
much treasure stored in your halls by the grace of the 
gods.' 

Then too spake among them the old man, lord Echeneus, 
that was an elder among the Phaeacians: * Friends, behold. 



THE ODYSSEY 161 

the speech of our wise queen is not wide of the mark, nor far 
from our deeming, so hearken ye thereto. But on Alcinous 
here both word and work depend.' 

Thei- Alcinous made ansv/er, and spake unto him: *Yea, 
the word that she hath spoken shall hold, if indeed I am 
yet to live and bear rule among the Phaeacians, masters of 
the oar. Howbeit let the stranger, for all his craving to 
return, nevertheless endure to abide until the morrow, till I 
make up the full measure of the gift; and men shall care for 
his convoy, all men, but I in chief, for mine is the lordship 
in the land.' 

And Odysseus of many counsels answered him, saying: 

* My lord Alcinous, most notable of all the people, if ye 
bade me tarry here even for a year, and would speed my 
convoy and give me splendid gifts, even that I would choose ; 
and better would it be for me to come with a fuller hand 
to mine own dear country, so should I get more love and 
worship in the eyes of all men, whoso should see me after 
I was returned to Ithaca.' 

And Alcinous answered him, saying: * Odysseus, in no 
wise do we deem thee, we that look on thee, to be a knave or 
a cheat, even as the dark earth rears many such broadcast, 
fashioning lies whence none can even see his way therein. 
But beauty crowns thy words, and wisdom is within thee ; and 
thy tale, as when a minstrel sings, thou hast told with skill, 
the weary woes of all the Argives and of thine own self. But 
come, declare me this and plainly tell it all. Didst thou see 
any of thy godlike company who went up at the same time 
with thee to Ilios and there met their doom? Behold, the 
night is of great length, unspeakable, and the time for sleep 
in the hall is not yet; tell me therefore of those wondrous 
deeds. I could abide even till the bright dawn, so long as 
thou couldst endure to rehearse me these woes of thine in 
the hall.' 

And Odysseus of many counsels answered him, saying: 

* l^/Ty lord Alcinous, most notable of all the people, there is a 
time for many words and there is a time for sleep. But if 
thou art eager still to listen, I would not for my part grudge 
to tell thee of other things more pitiful still, even the woes of 
my comrades, those that perished aftejward, for they had es- 

F— Vol. 22 HC 



162 HOMER 

caped with their lives from the dread war-cry of the Trojans, 
but perished in returning by the will of an evil woman. 

* Now when holy Persephone had scattered this way and 
that the spirits of the women folk, thereafter came the soul 
of Agamemnon, son of Atreus, sorrowing; and round him 
others were gathered, the ghosts of them who had died with 
him in the house of Aegisthus and met their doom. And he 
knew me straightway when he had drunk the dark blood, 
yea, and he wept aloud,' and shed big tears as he stretched 
forth his hands in his longing to reach me. But it might 
not be, for he had now no steadfast strength nor power 
at all in moving, such as was aforetime in his supple 
limbs, 

" At the sight of him I wept and was moved with com- 
passion, and uttering my voice, spake to him winged words: 
" Most renowned son of Atreus, Agamemnon, king of men, 
say what doom overcame thee of death that lays men at 
their length? Did Poseidon smite thee in thy ships, raising 
the dolorous blast of contrary winds, or did unfriendly men 
do thee hurt upon the land, v/hilst thou wert cutting off their 
oxen and fair flocks of sheep, or fighting to win a city and 
the women thereof?^* 

' So spake I, and straightway he answered, and said unto 
me: " Son of Laertes, of the seed of Zeus, Odysseus of many 
devices, it was not Poseidon that smote me in my ships, and 
raised the dolorous blast of contrary winds, nor did unfriendly 
men do me hurt upon the land, but Aegisthus it was that 
wrought me death and doom and slew me, with the aid of 
my accursed wife, as one slays an ox at the stall, after he had 
bidden me to his house, and entertained me at a feast. Even 
so I died by a death most pitiful, and round me my company 
likewise were slain without ceasing, like swine with glittering 
tusks which are slaughtered in the house of a rich and mighty 
man, whether at a wedding banquet or a joint-feast or a rich 
clan-drinking. Ere now hast thou been at the slaying of 
many a man, killed in single fight or in strong battle, yet 
thou wouldst have sorrowed the most at this sight, how we 
lay in the hall round the mixing-bowl and the laden boards, 
and the floor all ran with blood. And most pitiful of all that 
I heard was the voice of the daughter of Priam, of Cassandra, 



THE ODYSSEY 163 

whom hard by me the crafty Clytemnestra slew. Then I 
strove to raise my hands as I was dying upon the sword, but 
to earth they fell. And that shameless one turned her back 
upon m.e, and had not the heart to draw down my eyelids with 
her fingers nor to close my mouth. So surely is there nought 
more terrible and shameless than a woman who imagines such 
evil in her heart, even as she too planned a foul deed, fash- 
ioning death for her wedded lord. Verily I had thought to 
come home most welcome to my children and my thralls ; but 
she, out of the depth of her evil knowledge, hath shed shame 
on herself and on all womankind, which shall be for ever, 
even on the upright." 

* Even so he spake, but I answered him, saying : " Lo 
now, in very sooth, hath Zeus of the far-borne voice wreaked 
wondrous hatred on the seed of Atreus through the counsels 
of woman from of old. For Helen's sake so many of us 
perished, and now Clytemnestra hath practised treason 
against thee, v/hile yet thou wast afar off." 

'Even so I spake, and anon he answered me, saying: 
" Wherefore do thou too, never henceforth be soft even to 
thy wife, neither show her all the counsel that thou knowest, 
but a part declare and let part be hid. Yet shalt not thou, 
Odysseus, find death at the hand of thy wife, for she is very 
discreet and prudent in all her ways, the wise Penelope, 
daughter of Icarius. Verily we left her a bride new wed 
when we went to the war, and a child was at her breast, who 
now, methinks, sits in the ranks of men, happy in his lot, for 
his dear father shall behold him on his coming, and he shall 
embrace his sire as is meet. But as for my wife, she suffered 
me not so much as to have my fill of gazing on my son; ere 
that she slew me, even her lord. And yet another thing will 
I tell thee, and do thou ponder it in thy heart. Put thy ship 
to land in secret, and not openly, on the shore of thy dear 
country; for there is no more faith in wom.an. But come, 
declare me this and plainly tell it all, if haply ye hear of my 
son as yet living, either, it may be, in Orchomenus or in 
sandy Pylos, or perchance with Menelaus in wide Sparta, for 
goodly Orestes hath not yet perished on the earth." 

' Even so he spake, but I ansv^rered him, saying : " Son 
of Atreus^ wherefore dost thou ask me straitly of these 



164 HOMER 

things? Nay I know not at all, whether he be alive or 
dead; it is ill to speak words light as wind." 

' Thus we twain stood sorrowing, holding sad discourse, 
while the big tears fell fast : and therewithal came the soul of 
Achilles, son of Peleus, and of Patroclus and of noble Anti- 
lochus and of Aias, who in face and form was goodliest of 
all the Danaans, after the noble son of Peleus. And the 
spirit of the son of Aeacus, fleet of foot, knew me again, 
and making lament spake to me winged words: 

* " Son of Laertes, of the seed of Zeus, Odysseus of many 
devices, man overbold, what new deed and hardier than this 
wilt thou devise in thy heart? How durst thou come down 
to the house of Hades, where dwell the senseless dead, the 
phantoms of men outworn? " 

* So he spake, but I answered him : " Achilles, son of 
Peleus, mightiest far of the Achaeans, I am come hither to 
seek to Teiresias, if he may tell me any counsel, how I may 
come to rugged Ithaca. For not yet have I come nigh the 
Achaean land, nor set foot on mine own soil, but am still in 
evil case; while as for thee, Achilles, none other than thou 
wast heretofore the most blessed of men, nor shall any be 
hereafter. For of old, in the days of thy life, we Argives 
gave thee one honour with the gods, and now thou art a 
great prince here among the dead. Wherefore let not thy 
death be any grief to thee, Achilles." 

* Even so I spake, and he straightway answered me, and 
said : " Nay, speak not comfortably to me of death, oh great 
Odysseus. Rather would I live on ground^ as the hireling 
of another, with a landless man who had no great livelihood, 
than bear sway among all the dead that be departed. But 
come, tell me tidings of that lordly son of mine — did he fol- 
low to the war to be a leader or not? And tell me of noble 
Peleus, if thou hast heard aught, — is he yet held in worship 
among the Myrmidons, or do they dishonour him from Hellas 
to Phthia, for that old age binds him hand and foot? For I 
am no longer his champion under the sun, so mighty a man as 
once I was, when in wide Troy I slew the best of the host, 
and succoured the Argives. Ah I could I but come for an 

s cjrapovpo? seems to mean * upon the earth/ * above ground,' as opposed 
to the dead who are below, rather tha» * bound to the soil,' in. which sense 
most commentators take it» 



THE ODYSSEY 16S 

hour to my father's house as then I was, so would I make my 
might and hands invincible, to be hateful to many an one of 
those who do him despite and keep him from his honour." 

*Even so he spake, but I answered him, saying: "As for 
noble Peleus, verily I have heard nought of him; but con- 
cerning thy dear son Neoptolemus, I will tell thee all the truth, 
according to thy word. It was I that led him up out of Scyros 
in my good hollow ship, in the wake of the goodly-greaved 
Achaeans. Now oft as we took counsel around Troy town, 
he was ever the first to speak, and no word missed the mark ; 
the godlike Nestor and I alone surpassed him. But when- 
soever we Achaeans did battle on the plain of Troy, he 
never tarried behind in the throng or the press of men, but 
ran out far before us all, yielding to none in that might of 
his. And many m.en he slew in warfare dread; but I could 
not tell of all or name their names, even all the host he slew 
in succouring the Argives; but, ah, how he smote with the 
sword that son of Telephus, the hero Eurypylus, and many 
Ceteians^ of his company were slain around him, by reason 
of a woman's bribe. He truly was the comeliest man that 
ever I saw, next to goodly Memnon. And again when we, the 
best of the Argives, were about to go down into the horse 
which Epeus wrought, and the charge of all was laid on me, 
both to open the door of our good ambush and to shut the 
same, then did the other princes and counsellors of the 
Danaans wipe away the tears, and the limbs of each one 
trembled beneath him, but never once did I se^ thy son's fair 
face wax pale, nor did he wipe the tears from his cheeks : but 
he besought me often to let him go forth from the horse, 
and kept handling his sword-hilt, and his heavy bronze-shod 
spear, and he was set on mischief against the Trojans. But 
after we had sacked the steep city of Priam, he embarked 
unscathed with his share of the spoil, and with a noble prize; 
he was not smitten with the sharp spear, and got no wound 
in close fight: and many such chances there be in war, for 
Ares rageth confusedly." 

* So I spake, and the spirit of the son of Aeacus, fleet of 
foot, passed with great strides along the mead of asphodel, 
rejoicing in that I had told him of his son's renown. 

s See Lencrmant, Premieres Civilisations, voL i. p, 289, 



1^ HOMER 

* But lo, other spirits of the dead that be departed stood 
sorrowing, and each one asked of those that \vere dear to 
them. The soul of Aias, son of Telamon, alone stood 
apart being still angry for the victory wherein I prevailed 
against him, in the suit by the ships concerning the arms of 
Achilles, that his lady mother had set for a prize; and the 
sons of the Trojans made award and Pallas Athene. Would 
that I had never prevailed and won such a prize ! So goodly 
a head hath the earth closed over, for the sake of those arms, 
even over Aias, who in beauty and in feats of war was of a 
mould above all the other Danaans, next to the noble son of 
Peleus. To him then I spake softly, saying: 

* " Aias, son of noble Telamon, so art thou not even in 
death to forget thy wrath against me, by reason of those arms 
accursed, which the gods set to be the bane of the Argives? 
What a tower of strength fell in thy fall, and we Achaeans 
cease not to sorrow for thee, even as for the life of Achilles, 
son of Peleus ! Nay, there is none other to blame, but Zeus, 
who hath borne wondrous hate to the army of the Danaan 
spearsmen, and laid on thee thy doom. Nay, come hither, 
my lord, that thou mayest hear my word and my speech; 
master thy wrath and thy proud spirit." 

* So I spake, but he answered me not a word and passed 
to Erebus after the other spirits of the dead that be de- 
parted. Even then, despite his anger, would he have spoken 
to me or I to him, but my heart within me was minded 
to see the spirits of those others that were departed. 

* There then I saw Minos, glorious son of Zeus, wielding 
a golden sceptre, giving sentence from his throne to the dead, 
while they sat and stood around the prince, asking his dooms 
through the wide-gated house of Hades. 

*And after him I marked the mighty Orion driving the 
wild beasts together over the mead of asphodel, the very 
beasts that himself had slain on the lonely hills, with a 
strong mace all of bronze in his hands*, that is ever un- 
broken. 

*And I saw Tityos, son of renowned Earth, lying on a 
levelled ground, and he covered nine roods as he lay, and 

4 exav in strict grammar agrees with aurbs in 574, but this merely by 
attraction, for in sense it refers not to the living man, but to his phantom. 



THE ODYSSEY 167 

vultures twain beset him one on either side, and gnawed 
at his liver, piercing even to the caul, but he drave them not 
away with his hands. For he had dealt violently with Leto, 
the famous bedfellow of Zeus, as she went up to Pytho 
through the fair lawns of Panopeus. 

* Moreover I beheld Tantalus in grievous torment, stand- 
ing in a mere and the water came nigh unto his chin. And 
he stood straining as one athirst, but he might not attain to 
the water to drink of it. For often as that old man stooped 
down in his eagerness to drink, so often the water was 
swallowed up and it vanished away, and the black earth still 
showed at his feet, for some god parched it evermore. And 
tall trees flowering shed their fruit overhead, pears and 
pomegranates and apple trees with bright fruit, and sv/eet 
figs and olives in their bloom, whereat when that old man 
reached out his hands to clutch them, the wind would toss 
them to the shadowy clouds. 

'Yea and I beheld Sisyphus in strong torment, grasping 
a monstrous stone with both his hands. He was pressing 
thereat with hands and feet, and trying to roll the stone up- 
ward toward the brow of the hill. But oft as he was about 
to hurl it over the top, the weight would drive him back, so 
once again to the plain rolled the stone, the shameless thing. 
And he once more kept heaving and straining, and the sweat 
the while was pouring down his limbs, and the dust rose 
upwards from his head. 

*And after him I descried the mighty Heracles, his phan- 
tom, I say; but as for himself he hath joy at the banquet 
among the deathless gods, and hath to wife Hebe of the fair 
ankles, child of great Zeus, and of Here of the golden san- 
dals. And all about him there was a clamour of the dead, 
as it were fowls flying every way in fear, and he like black 
Night, with bow uncased, and shaft upon the string, fiercely 
glancing around, like one in the act to shoot. And about his 
bfeast was an awful belt, a baldric of gold, whereon won- 
drous things were wrought, bears and wild boars and lions 
with flashing eyes, and strife and battles and slaughters and 
murders of men. Nay, now that he hath fashioned this, 
never another may he fashion, whoso stored in his craft 
the device of that belt! And anon he knew me when his 



168 HOMER 

eyes beheld me, and making lament he spake unto me winged 
words : 

' " Son of Laertes, of the seed of Zeus, Odysseus of many 
devices : ah ! wretched one, dost thou too lead such a life of 
evil doom, as I endured beneath the rays of the sun? I was 
the son of Zeus Cronion, yet had I trouble beyond measure, 
for I was subdued unto a man far worse than I. And he 
enjoined on me hard adventures, yea and on a time he sent 
me hither to bring back the hound of hell ; for he devised no 
harder task for me than this. I lifted the hound and brought 
him forth from out of the house of Hades; and Hermes 
sped me on my way and the grey-eyed Athene." 

* Therewith he departed again into the house of Hades, 
but I abode there still, if perchance some one of the hero 
folk besides might come, who died in old time. Yea and I 
should have seen the men of old, whom I was fain to look 
on, Theseus and Peirithous, renowned children of the gods. 
But ere that might be the myriad tribes of the dead thronged 
up together with wondrous clamour: and pale fear gat hold 
of me, lest the high goddess Persephone should send me the 
head of the Gorgon, that dread monster, from out of Hades. 

* Straightway then I went to the ship, and bade my men 
mount the vessel, and loose the hawsers. So speedily they 
went on board, and sat upon the benches. And the wave of 
the flood bore the barque down the stream of Oceanus, we 
rowing first, and afterwards the fair wind was our convoy. 




BOOK XII 

Odysseus, his passage by the Sirens, and by Scyl!a and Charybdis. 
The sacrilege committed by his men in the isle Thrinacia. The de- 
struction of his ships and men. How he swam on a plank nine days 
together, and came to Ogygia, where he stayed seven years with 
Calypso. 

'OW after the ship had left the stream of the river 
Oceanus, and was come to the wave of the wide sea, 
and the isle Aeaean, where is the dwelling place of 
early Dawn and her dancing grounds, and the land of sun- 
rising, upon our coming thither we beached the ship in the 
sand, and ourselves too stept ashore on the sea beach. There 
we fell on sound sleep and awaited the bright Dawn. 

* So soon as early Dawn shone forth, the rosy-fingered, I 
sent forth my fellows to the house of Circe to fetch the body 
of the dead Elpenor. And speedily we cut billets of wood 
and sadly we buried him, where the furthest headland runs 
out into the sea, shedding big tears. But when the dead 
man was burned and the arms of the dead, we piled a barrow 
and dragged up thereon a pillar, and on the topmost mound 
we set the shapen oar. 

' Now all that task we finished, and our coming from out 
of Hades was not unknown to Circe, but she arrayed her- 
self and speedily drew nigh, and her handmaids with her 
bare flesh and bread in plenty and dark red wine. And the 
fair goddess stood in the midst and spake in our ears, 
saying : 

Men overbold, who have gone alive into the house of 
Hades, to know death twice, while all men else die once for 
all. Nay come, eat ye meat and drink wine here all day 
long; and with the breaking of the day ye shall set sail, and 
myself I will show you the path and declare each thing, that 
ye may not suffer pain or hurt through any grievous ill- 
contrivance by sea or on the land" 

169 



170 HOMER 

' So spake she, and our lordly souls consented thereto. 
Thus for that time we sat the livelong day, until the going 
down of the sun, feasting on abundant flesh and on sweet 
wine. Now when the sun sank and darkness came on, my 
company laid them to rest by the hawsers of the ship. Then 
she took me by the hand and led me apart from my dear 
company, and made me to sit down and laid herself at my 
feet, and asked all my tale. And I told her all in order duly. 
Then at the last the lady Circe spake unto me, saying : 

* *' Even so, now all these things have an end ; do thou 
then hearken even as I tell thee, and the god himself shall 
bring it back to thy mind. To the Sirens first shalt thou 
come, who bewitch all men, whosoever shall come to them. 
Whoso draws nigh them unwittingly and hears the sound of 
the Sirens' voice, never doth he see wife or babes stand by 
him on his return, nor have they joy at his coming; but 
the Sirens enchant him v^^ith their clear song, sitting in the 
meadow, and all about is a great heap of bones of men, cor- 
rupt in death, and round the bones the skin is wasting. But 
do thou drive thy ship past, and knead honey-sweet wax, 
and anoint therewith the ears of thy com^pany, lest any 
of the rest hear the song; but if thou thyself art minded 
to hear, let them bind thee in the swift ship hand and foot, 
upright in the mast-stead, and from the mast let rope-ends 
be tied, that with delight thou mayest hear the voice of 
the Sirens. And if thou shalt beseech thy company and 
bid them to loose thee, then let them bind thee with yet 
more bonds. But when thy friends have driven thy ship 
past these, I will not tell thee fully which path shall thence- 
forth be thine, but do thou thyself consider it, and I will 
speak to thee of either way. On the one side there are 
beetling rocks, and against them the great v/ave roars of 
dark-eyed Amphitrite. These, ye must know, are they the 
blessed gods call the Rocks Wandering. By this way even 
winged things may never pass, nay, not even the cowering 
doves that bear ambrosia to Father Zeus, but the sheer 
rock evermore takes away one even of these, and the 
Father sends in another to make up the tale. Thereby no 
ship of men ever escapes that comes thither, but the planks 
of ships and the bodies of men confusedly are tossed by the 



THE ODYSSEY 171 

waves of the sea and the storms of ruinous fire. One ship 
only of all that fare by sea hath passed that way, even Argo, 
that is in all men's minds, on her voyage from Aeetes. And 
even her the wave would lightly have cast there upon the 
mighty rocks, but Here sent her by for love of Jason. 

* '" On the other part are two roclcs, whereof the one 
reaches with sharp peak to the wide heaven, and a dark 
cloud encompasses it; this never streams away, and there is 
no clear air about the peak neither in summer nor in harvest 
tide. No mxortal man may scale it or set foot thereon, not 
though he had twenty hands and feet. For the rock is 
smooth, and sheer, as it were polished. And in the midst 
of the cliff is a dim cave turned to Erebus, towards the 
place of darkness, whereby ye shall even steer your hollow 
ship, noble Odysseus. Not with an arrow from a bow 
might a man in his strength reach from his hollow ship into 
that deep cave. And therein dwelleth Scylla, yelping ter- 
ribly. Her voice indeed is no greater than the voice of 
a new-born whelp, but a dreadful monster is she, nor would 
any look on her gladly, not if it were a god that met her. 
Verily she hath twelve feet all dangling down ; and six necks 
exceeding long, and on each a hideous head, and therein 
three rows of teeth set thick and close, full of black death. 
Up to her middle is she sunk far down in the hollow cave, 
but forth she holds her heads from the dreadful gulf, and 
there she fishes, swooping round the rock, for dolphins or 
sea-dogs, or whatso greater beast she may anywhere take, 
whereof the deep-voiced Amphitrite feeds countless flocks. 
Thereby no sailors boast that they have fled scatheless ever 
with their ship, for with each head she carries off a man, 
whom she hath snatched from out the dark-prowed ship. 

* " But that other cliff, Odysseus, thou shalt note, lying 
lower, hard by the first : thou couldest send an arrow across. 
And thereon is a great fig-tree growing, in fullest leaf, and 
beneath it mighty Charybdis sucks down black v/ater, for 
thrice a day she spouts it forth, and thrice a day she sucks 
it down in terrible wise. Never mayest thou be there when 
she sucks the water, for none might save thee then from 
thy bane, not even the Earth-Shaker! But take heed and 
swiftly drawing nigh to Scylla's rock drive the ship past. 



172 HOMER 

since of a truth it is far better to mourn six of thy company 
in the ship, than all in the selfsame hour." 

* So spake she, but I answered, and said unto her : " Come 
I pray thee herein, goddess, tell me true, if there be any 
means whereby I might escape from the deadly Charybdis 
and avenge me on that other, when she would prey upon 
my company." 

* So spake I, and that fair goddess answered me : " Man 
overbold, lo, now again the deeds of war are in thy mind 
and the travail thereof. Wilt thou not yield thee even to 
the deathless gods? As for her, she is no mortal, but an 
immortal plague, dread, grievous, and fierce, and not to 
be fought with; and against her there is no defence; flight 
is the bravest way. For if thou tarry to do on thine armour 
by the cliff, I fear lest once again she sally forth and catch 
at thee with so many heads, and seize as many men as be- 
fore. So drive past with all thy force, and call on Cratais, 
mother of Scylla, which bore her for a bane to mortals. 
And she will then let her from darting forth thereafter. 

' " Then thou shalt come unto the isle Thrinacia ; there are 
the many kine of Helios and his brave flocks feeding, seven 
herds of kine and as many goodly flocks of sheep, and fifty 
in each flock. They have no part in birth or in corruption, 
and there are goddesses to shepherd them, nymphs with fair 
tresses, Phaethusa and Lampetie whom bright Neaera bare 
to Helios Hyperion. Now when the lady their mother had 
borne and nursed them, she carried them to the isle Thrin- 
acia to dwell afar, that they should guard their father's 
flocks and his kine with shambling gait. If thou doest these 
no hurt, being heedful of thy return, truly ye may even yet 
reach Ithaca, albeit in evil case. But if thou hurtest them, 
I foreshow ruin for thy ship and for thy m.en, and even 
though thou shouldest thyself escape, late shalt thou return 
in evil plight with the loss of all thy compan3\" 

* So spake she, and anon came the golden-throned Dawn. 
Then the fair goddess took her way up the island. But I 
departed to my ship and roused my men themselves to mount 
the vessel and loose the hawsers. And speedily they went 
aboard and sat upon the benches, and sitting orderly smote 
the grey sea water with their oars. And in the wake 



THE ODYSSEY 173 

of our dark-prowed ship she sent a favouring wind that 
filled the sails, a kindly escort, — even Circe of the braided 
tresses, a dread goddess of human speech. And straightway 
we set in order the gear throughout the ship and sat us 
down, and the wind and the helmsman guided our barque. 

' Then I spake among my company with a heavy heart : 
" Friends, forasmuch as it is not well that one or two alone 
should know of the oracles that Circe, the fair goddess, 
spake unto me, therefore will I declare them, that with fore- 
knowledge we may die, or haply shunning death and destiny 
escape. First she bade us avoid the sound of the voice of 
the wondrous Sirens, and their field of flowers, and me only 
she bade listen to their voices. So bind ye me in a hard 
bond, that I may abide unmoved in my place, upright in the 
mast-stead, and from the mast let rope-ends be tied, and if 
I beseech and bid you to set me free, then do ye straiten me 
with yet more bonds." 

' Thus I rehearsed these things one and all, and declared 
them to my company. Meanwhile our good ship quickly 
came to the island of the Sirens twain, for a gentle breeze 
sped her on her way. Then straightway the wind ceased, 
and io, there was a windless calm, and some god lulled the 
waves. Then my company rose up and drew in the ship's 
sails, and stowed them in the hold of the ship, while they sat 
at the oars and whitened the water with their polished pine 
blades. But I with my sharp sword cleft in pieces a great 
circle of wax, and with my strong hands kneaded it. And 
soon the wax grew warm, for that my great might con- 
strained it, and the beam of the lord Helios, son of Hyperion. 
And I anointed therewith the ears of all my men in their 
order, and in the ship they bound me hand and foot upright 
in the mast-stead, and from the mast they fastened rope-ends 
and themselves sat down, and smote the grey sea water with 
their oars. But when the ship was within the sound of a 
man's shout from the land, we fleeing swiftly on our way, 
the Sirens espied the swift ship speeding toward them, and 
they raised their clear-toned song: 

' " Hither, come hither, renowned Odysseus, great glory 
of the Achaeans, here stay thy barque, that thou mayest 
listen to the voice of us twain. For none hath ever driven 



174 HOMER 

by this way in his black ship, till he hath heard from our 
lips the voice sweet as the honeycomb, and hath had joy 
thereof and gone on his way the wiser. For lo, we know all 
things, all the travail that in wide Troy-land the Argives and 
Trojans bare by the gods' designs, yea, and we know all that 
shall hereafter be upon the fruitful earth." 

* So spake they uttering a sweet voice, and my heart was 
fain to listen, and I bade my company unbind me, nodding 
at them with a frown, but they bent to their oars and rowed 
on. Then straight uprose Perimedes and Eurylochus and 
bound me with more cords and straitened me yet the more. 
Now when we had driven past them, nor heard we any 
longer the sound of the Sirens or their song, forthwith my 
dear company took away the wax wherewith I had anointed 
their ears and loosed me from my bonds. 

* But so soon as we left that isle, thereafter presently I saw 
smoke and a great wave, and heard the sea roaring. Then 
for very fear the oars flew from their hands, and down the 
stream they all splashed, and the ship was holden there, for 
my company no longer plied with their hands the tapering 
oars. But I paced the ship and cheered on my men, as I 
stood by each one and spake smooth words: 

' " Friends, forasmuch as in sorrow we are not all uij- 
learned, truly this is no greater woe that is upon us,^ than 
when the Cyclops penned us by main might in his hollow 
cave; yet even thence we made escape by my manfulness, 
even by my counsel and my wit, and some day I think that 
this adventure too we shall remember. Come nov^ there- 
fore, let us all give ear to do according to my word. Do ye 
smite the deep surf of the sea with your oars, as ye sit on the 
benches, if peradventure Zeus may grant us to escape from 
and shun this death. And as for thee, helmsm.an, thus I 
charge thee, and ponder it in thine heart seeing that thou 
wieldest the helm of the hollow ship. Keep the ship well 
away from this smoke and from the wave and hug the 
rocks, lest the ship, ere thou art aware, start from her course 
to the other side, and so thou hurl us into ruin." 

* So I spake, and quickly they hearkened to my words. 
But of Scylla I told them nothing more, a bane none might 

^Reading ewl, not lirei with La Roche, 



THE ODYSSEY 175 

deal with, lest haply my company should cease from rowing 
for fear, and hide them in the hold. In that same hour I 
suffered myself to forget the hard behest of Circe, in that 
she bade me in nowise be armed; but I did on my glorious 
harness and caught up two long lances in my hands, and 
went on to the decking of the prow, for thence methought 
that Scylla of the rock would first be seen, who was to 
bring woe on my company. Yet could I not spy her any- 
where, and my eyes waxed weary for gazing all about 
toward the darkness of the rock. 

* Next we began to sail up the narrow strait lamenting. 
For on the one hand lay Scylla, and on the other mighty 
Charybdis in terrible wise sucked down the salt sea water. 
As often as she belched it forth, like a cauldron on a great 
fire she would seethe up through all her troubled deeps, and 
overhead the spray fell on the tops of either cliff. But oft 
as she gulped down the salt sea water, within she was all 
plain to see through her troubled deeps, and the rock around 
roared horribly and beneath the earth was manifest swart 
with sand, and pale fear gat hold on my men. Toward her, 
then, we looked fearing destruction; but Scylla meanwhile 
caught from out my hollow ship six of my company, the 
hardiest of their hands and the chief in might. And looking 
into the swift ship to find my m.en, even then I marked their 
feet and hands as they were lifted on high, and they cried 
aloud in their agony, and called me by my name for that last 
time of all. Even as when a fisher on some headland lets 
down with a long rod his baits for a snare to the little fishes 
below, casting into the deep the horn of an ox of the home- 
stead, and as he catches each flings it writhing ashore, so 
writhing were they borne upward to the cliff. And there 
she devoured them shrieking in her gates, they stretching 
forth their hands to me in the dread death-struggle. And 
the most pitiful thing v/as this that mine eyes have seen of 
all my travail in searching out the paths of the sea. 

' Now when we had escaped the Rocks and dread Charyb- 
dis and Scylla, thereafter we soon came to the fair island 
of the god; where were the goodly kine, broad of brow, and 
the many brave flocks of Helios Hyperion. Then while as 
yet I was in my black ship upon the deep, I heard the lowing 



176 HOMER 

of the cattle being stalled and the bleating of the sheep, and 
on my mind there fell the saying of the blind seer, Theban 
Teiresias, and of Circe of Aia, who charged me very straitly 
to shun the isle of Helios, the gladdener of the world. Then 
I spake out among my company in sorrow of heart: 

* *' Hear my words, my men, albeit in evil plight, that I 
may declare unto you the oracles of Teiresias and of Circe 
of Aia, who very straitly charged me to shun the isle of 
Helios, the gladdener of the world. For there she said the 
most dreadful mischief would befall us. Nay, drive ye then 
the black ship beyond and past that isle." 

' So spake I, and their heart was broken within them. 
And Eurylochus straightway answered me sadly, saying: 

' " Hardy art thou, Odysseus, of might beyond measure, 
and thy limbs are never weary ; verily thou art fashioned all 
of iron, that sufferest not thy fellows, foredone with toil and 
drowsiness, to set foot on shore, where we m.ight presently 
prepare us a good supper in this sea-girt island. But even 
as we are thou biddest us fare blindly through the sudden 
night, and from the isle go wandering on the misty deep- 
And strong winds, the bane of ships, are born of the night. 
How could a man escape from utter doom, if there chanced 
to come a sudden blast of the South Wind, or of the bois- 
terous West, which mainly wreck ships, beyond the will 
of the gods, the lords of all? Howbeit for this present let 
us yield to the black night, and we will make ready our 
supper abiding by the swift ship, and in the morning we will 
climb on board, and put out into the broad deep." 

' So spake Eurylochus, and the rest of my company con- 
sented thereto. Then at the last I knew that some god was 
indeed imagining evil, and I uttered my voice and spake 
unto him winged words : 

' " Eurylochus, verily ye put force upon me, being but one 
among you all. But com.e, swear me now a mighty oath, 
one and all, to the intent that if we light on a herd of kine 
or a great flock of sheep, none in the evil folly of his heart 
may slay any sheep or ox; but in quiet eat ye the meat 
which the deathless Circe gave." 

' So I spake, and straightway they swore to refrain as I 
commanded them. Now after they had sworn and done that 



THE ODYSSEY ^ 177 

oath, we stayed our well-builded ship In the hollow harbour 
near to a well of sweet water, and my company went forth 
from out the ship and deftly got ready supper. But when 
they had put from them the desire of meat and drink, there- 
after they fell a weeping as they thought upon their dear 
companions whom Scylla had snatched from out the hollow 
ship and so devoured. And deep sleep came upon them 
amiid their weeping. And when it was the third watch of the 
night, and the stars had crossed the zenith, Zeus the cloud- 
gatherer roused against them an angry wind with wondrous 
tempest, and shrouded in clouds land and sea alike, and from 
heaven sped down the night. Now when early Dawn shone 
forth, the rosy-jangered, we beached the ship, and dragged 
it up within a hollow cave, where were the fair dancing 
grounds of the nymphs and the places of their session. 
Thereupon I ordered a gathering of my men and spake in 
their midst, saying: 

* " Friends, forasmuch as there is yet meat and drink in 
the swift ship, let us keep our hands off those kine, lest some 
evil thing befall us. For these are the kine and the brave 
flocks of a dread god, even of Helios, who overseeth all 
and overheareth all things." 

'So I spake, and their lordly spirit hearkened thereto. Then 
for a whole month the South Wind blew without ceasing, 
and no other wind arose, save only the East and the South. 

' Now so long as my company still had corn and red wine, 
they refrained them from the kine, for they were fain of 
life. But when the corn was now all spent from out the ship, 
and they went wandering with barbed hooks in quest of 
game, as needs they must, fishes and fowls, whatsoever 
might come to their hand, for hunger gnawed at their belly, 
then at last I departed up the isle, that I might pray to the 
gods, if perchance som.e one of them might show me a way 
of returning. And now when I had avoided my company on 
my way through the island, I laved my hands where was a 
shelter from the wind, and prayed to all the gods that hold 
Olympus. But they shed sweet sleep upon my eyelids. 
And Eurylochus the while set forth an evil counsel to my 
company : 

* " Hear my words, my friends, though ye be in evil case. 



178 HOMER 

Truly every shape o£ death is hateful to wretched mortals, 
but to die of hunger and so meet doom is most pitiful of 
all. Nay come, we will drive off the best of the kine of 
Helios and will do sacrifice to the deathless gods who keept 
wide heaven. And if we may yet reach Ithaca, our own 
country, forthwith will we rear a rich shrine to Helios Hype- 
rion, and therein would we set many a choice offering. But 
if he be somewhat wroth for his cattle with straight horns, 
and is fain to wreck our ship, and the other gods follow 
his desire, rather with one gulp at the wave would I cast my 
life away, than be slowly straitened to death in a desert isle." 

'So spake Eurylochus, and the rest of the company* con- 
sented thereto. Forthwith they drave off the best of the 
kine of Helios that were nigh at hand, for the fair kine 
of shambling gait and broad of brow were feeding no great 
way from the dark-prowed ship. Then they stood around 
the cattle and prayed to the gods, plucking the fresh leaves 
from an oak of lofty boughs, for they had no white barley 
on board the decked ship. Now after they had prayed and 
cut the throats of the kine and flayed them, they cut out 
slices of the thighs and wrapped them in the fat, making 
a double fold, and thereon they laid raw flesh. Yet had they 
no pure wine to pour over the flaming sacrifices, but they 
made libation with water and roasted the entrails over the 
fire. Now after the thighs were quite consumed and they 
had tasted the inner parts, they cut the rest up small and 
spitted it on spits. In the same hour deep sleep sped from 
my eyelids and I sallied forth to the swift ship and the sea- 
banks. But on my way as I drev/ near to the curved ship, 
the sweet savour of the fat came all about me ; and I groaned 
and spake out before the deathless gods : 

* " Father Zeus, and all ye other blessed gods that live 
for ever, verily to my undoing ye have lulled me with a ruth- 
less sleep, and my company abiding behind have imagined a 
monstrous deed.'' 

* Then swiftly to Helios Hyperion came Lampetie of the 
long robes, with the tidings that we had slain his kine. And 
straight he spake with angry heart amid the Immortals: 

' " Father Zeus, and all ye other blessed gods that live for 
ever, take vengeance I pray you on the company of Odysseus^ 



THE ODYSSEY 178 

son of Laertes, that have insolently slain my cattle, wherein 
I was wont to be glad as I went toward the starry heaven, 
and when I again turned earthward from the firmament. 
And if they pay me not full atonement for the cattle, I will 
go down to Hades and shine among the dead." 

'And Zeus the cloud-gatherer answered him, saying: 
" Helios, do thou, I say, shine on amidst the deathless gods, 
and amid mortal men upon the earth, the grain-giver. But 
as for me, I will soon smite their swift ship with my white 
bolt, and cleave it in pieces in the midst of the wine-dark 
deep." 

* This I heard from Calypso of the fair hair ; and she said 
that she herself had heard it from Hermes the Messenger. 

* But when I had come down to the ship and to the sea, 
I went up to my companions and rebuked them one by one; 
but we could find no remedy, the cattle were dead and 
gone. And soon thereafter the gods showed forth signs 
and wonders to my company. The skins were creeping, 
and the flesh bellowing upon the spits, both the roast and 
raw, and there was a sound as the voice of kine. 

* Then for six days my dear company feasted on the best 
of the kine of Helios, which they had driven off. But when 
Zeus, son of Cronos, had added the seventh day thereto, 
thereafter the wind ceased to blow with a rushing storm, 
and at once we clim.bed the ship and launched into the broad 
deep, when we had set up the mast and hoisted the white 
sails. 

* But now when we left that isle nor any other land ap- 
peared, but sky and sea only, even then the son of Cronos 
stayed a dark cloud above the hollow ship, and beneath it 
the deep darkened. And the ship ran on her way for no 
long while, for of a sudden came the shrilling West, witlj the 
rushing of a great tempest, and the blast of wind snapped 
the two forestays of the mast, and the mast fell backward 
and all the gear dropped into the bilge. And behold, on the 
hind part of the ship the mast struck the head of the pilot 
and brake all the bones of his skull together, and like a 
diver he dropped down from the deck, and his brave spirit 
left his bones. In that same hour Zeus thundered and cast 
his bolt upon the ship, and she reeled all over being stricken 



180 HOMER 

by the bolt of Zeus, and was filled with sulphur, and lo, my 
company fell from out the vessel. Like sea-gulls they were 
borne round the black ship upon the billows, and the god 
reft them of returning. 

' But I kept pacing through my ship, till the surge loos- 
ened the sides from the keel, and the wave swept her along 
stript of her tackling, and brake her mast clean off at the 
keel. Now the backstay fashioned of an oxhide had been 
flung thereon; therewith I lashed together both keel and 
mast, and sitting thereon I was borne by the ruinous winds. 

' Then verily the West Wind ceased to blow with a rush- 
ing storm, and swiftly withal the South Wind came, bring- 
ing sorrow to my soul, that so I might again measure back 
that space of sea, the way to deadly Charybdis. All the 
night was I borne, but with the rising of the sun I came to 
the rock of Scylla, and to dread Charybdis. Now she had 
sucked down her salt sea water, when I was swung up on 
high to the tall fig-tree whereto I clung like a bat, and could 
find no sure rest for my feet nor place to stand, for the 
roots spread far below and the branches hung aloft out of 
reach, long and large, and overshadowed Charybdis. Stead- 
fast I clung till she should spew forth mast and keel again; 
and late they came to my desire. At the hour when a 
man rises up from the assembly and goes to supper, one 
who judges the many quarrels of the young men that seek to 
him for law, at that same hour those timbers came forth to 
view from out Charybdis. And I let myself drop down hands 
and feet, and plunged heavily in the midst of the waters 
beyond the long timbers, and sitting on these I rowed hard 
with my hands. But the father of gods and of men suffered 
me no more to behold Scylla, else I should never have 
escaped from utter doom. 

'Thence for nine days was I borne, and on the tenth 
night the gods brought me nigh to the isle of Ogygia, where 
dwells Calypso of the braided tresses, an awful goddess of 
mortal speech, who took me in and entreated me kindly. 
But why rehearse all this tale ? For even yesterday I told it 
to thee and to thy noble wife in thy house; and it liketh 
me not twice to tell a plain-told tale.* 



BOOK XIII 

Odysseus, sleeping, is set ashore at Ithaca by the Phaeacians, and 
waking knows it not. Pallas, in the form of a shepherd, helps to 
hide his treasure. The ship that conveyed him is turned into a rock, 
and Odysseus by Pallas is instructed what to do, and transformed 
into an old beggarman. 

SO Spake he, .and dead silence fell on all, and they were 
spell-bound throughout the shado^vy halls. Thereupon^ 
Alcinous answered him, and spake, saying: 
* Odysseus, now that thou hast come to my high house 
with floor of bronze, never, methinks, shalt thou be driven 
from thy way ere thou returnest, though thou hast been sore 
afflicted. And for each man among you, that in these halls 
of mine drink evermore the dark wine of the elders, and 
hearken to the minstrel, this is ray word and command. Gar- 
ments for the stranger are already laid up in a polished cof- 
fer, with gold curiously wrought, and all other such gifts as 
the counsellors of the Phaeacians bare hither. Come now, 
let us each of us give him a great tripod and a cauldron, and 
we in turn will gather goods among the people and get us 
recompense; for it were hard that one man should give 
without repayment.' 

So spake Alcinous, and the saying pleased them well. 
Then they went each one to his house to lay him down 
to rest; but so soon as early Dawn shone forth, the rosy- 
fingered, they hasted to the ship and bare the bronze, the 
joy of men. And the mighty king Alcinous himself went 
about the ship and diligently bestowed the gifts beneath the 
benches, that they might not hinder any of the crew in 
their rowing, when they laboured at their oars. Then they 
betook them to the house of Alcinous and fell to feasting. 
And the mighty king Alcinous sacrificed before them an ox 
to Zeus, the son of Cronos, that dwells in the dark clouds, 
who is lord of all. And when they had burnt the pieces of 

181 



182 HOMER 

the thighs, they shared the glorious feast and made merry, 
and among them harped the divine minstrel Demodocus, 
whom the people honoured. But Odysseus would ever turn 
his head toward the splendour of the sun, as one fain to 
hasten his setting: for verily he was most eager to return. 
And as when a man longs for his supper, for whom all day 
long two dark oxen drag through the fallow field the jointed 
plough, yea and welcome to such an one the sunlight sinketh, 
that so he may get him to supper, for his knees wax faint by 
the way, even so welcome was the sinking of the sunlight 
to Odysseus. Then straight he spake among the Phaea- 
cians, masters of the oar, and to Alcinous in chief he made 
known his word, saying : 

'My lord Alcinous, most notable of all the people, pour 
ye the drink offering, and send me safe upon my way, and 
as for you, fare ye well. For now have I all that my heart 
desired, an escort and loving gifts. May the gods of heaven 
give me good fortune v/ith them, and may I find my noble 
wife in my home with my friends unharmed, while ye, for 
your part, abide here and make glad your wedded wives and 
children; and may the gods vouchsafe all manner of good, 
and may no evil come nigh the people ! ' 

So spake he, and they all consented thereto and bade 
send the stranger on his way, in that he had spoken aright. 
Then the mighty Alcinous spake to the henchman: ' Pon- 
tonous, mix the bowl and serve out the wine to all in 
the hall, that we may pray to Father Zeus, and send the 
stranger on his way to his own country.' 

So spake he, and Pontonous mixed the honey-hearted wine, 
and served it to all in turn. And they poured forth before 
the blessed gods that keep wide heaven, even there as they 
sat. Then goodly Odysseus uprose, and placed in Arete's 
hand the two-handled cup, and uttering his voice spake to 
her winged words : 

* Fare thee well, O queen, all the days of thy life, till old 
age come and death, that visit all mankind. But I go home- 
ward, and do thou in this thy house rejoice in thy children 
and thy people and Alcinous the king.' 

Therewith goodly Odysseus stept over the threshold. And 
with him the mighty Alcinous sent forth a henchman to 



THE ODYSSEY 183 

guide him to the swift ship and the sea-banks. And Arete 
sent in his train certain maidens of her household, one bear- 
ing a fresh robe and a doublet, and another she joined to 
them to carry the strong coffer, and yet another bare bread 
and red wine. Now when they had come down to the ship 
and to the sea, straightway the good men of the escort took 
these things and laid them by in the hollow ship, even all 
the m.eat and drink. Then they strewed for Odysseus a rug 
and a sheet of linen, on the decks of the hollow ship, in the 
hinder part thereof, that he might sleep sound. Then he too 
climbed aboard and laid him down in silence, while they sat 
upon the benches, every man in order, and unbound the 
hawser from the pierced stone. So soon as they leant back- 
wards and tossed the sea water with the oar blade, a deep 
sleep fell upon his eyelids, a sound sleep, very sweet, and 
next akin to death. And even as on a plain a yoke of four 
stallions comes springing all together beneath the lash, leap- 
ing high and speedily accomplishing the way, so leaped the 
stern of that ship, and the dark waves of the sounding sea 
rushed mightily in the wake, and she ran ever surely on her 
way, nor could a circling hawk keep pace with her, of winged 
things the swiftest. Even thus she lightly sped and cleft 
the waves of the sea, bearing a man whose counsel was as 
the counsel of the gods, one that erewhile had suffered 
much sorrow of heart, in passing through the wars of men, 
and the grievous waves; but for that time he slept in peace, 
forgetful of all that he had suffered. 

So when the star came up, that is brightest of all, and 
goes ever heralding the light of early Dav/n, even then did 
the sea-faring ship draw nigh the island. There is in the 
land of Ithaca a certain haven of Phorcys, the ancient one 
of the sea, and thereby are two headlands of sheer cliff, 
which slope to the sea on the haven's side and break the 
mighty wave that ill winds roll without, but within, the 
decked ships ride unmoored v/hen once they have reached 
the place of anchorage. Now at the harbour's head is a 
long-leaved olive tree, and hard by is a pleasant cave and 
shadowy, sacred to the nymphs, that are called the Naiads. 
And therein are mixing bowls and jars of stone, and there 
moreover do bees hive. And there are great looms of stone. 



184 HOMER 

whereon the nymphs weave raiment o£ purple stain, a marvel 
to behold, and therein are waters welling evermore. Two 
gates there are to the cave, the one set toward the North 
Wind whereby men may go down, but the portals toward 
the South pertain rather to the gods, whereby men may not 
enter : it is the way of the immortals. 

Thither they, as having knowledge of that place, let drive 
their ship; and now the vessel in full course ran ashore, 
half her keeFs length high; so well was she sped by the 
hands of the oarsmen. Then they alighted from the benched 
ship upon the land, and first they lifted Odysseus from out 
the hollow ship, all as he was in the sheet of linen and the 
bright rug, and laid him yet heavy with slumber on the sand. 
And they took forth the goods which the lordly Phaeacians 
had given him on his homeward way by grace of the great- 
hearted Athene. These they set in a heap by the trunk of 
the olive tree, a little aside from the road, lest scm.e way- 
faring man, before Odysseus awakened, should come and 
spoil them. Then themselves departed homeward again. 
But the shaker of the earth forgat not the threats, wherewith 
at the first he had threatened godlike Odysseus, and he 
inquired into the counsel of Zeus, saying: 

* Father Zeus, I for one shall no longer be of worship 
among the deathless gods, when mortal men hold me in no 
regard, even Phaeacians, who moreover are of mine own 
lineage. Lo, now I said that after much affliction Odysseus 
should come home, for I had no mind to rob him utterly 
of his return, when once thou hadst promised it and given 
assent; but behold, in his sleep they have borne him in a 
swift ship over the sea, and set him down in Ithaca, and 
given him gifts out of measure, bronze and gold in plenty 
and woven raiment, much store, such as never would Odys- 
seus have won for himself out of Troy; yea, though he 
had returned unhurt with the share of the spoil that fell 
to him.' 

And Zeus, the cloud gatherer, answered him saying : ' Lo 
now, shaker of the earth, of widest power, what a word hast 
thou spoken! The gods nowise dishonour thee; hard would 
it be to assail with dishonour our eldest and our best. But if 
any man, giving place to his own hardihood and strength, 



THE ODYSSEY 18S 

holds thee not m worship, thou hast alv/ays thy revenge for' 
the same, even in the time to come. Do thou as thou wilt, 
and as seems thee good/ 

Then Poseidon, shaker of the earth, answered him: 
Straightway would I do even as thou sayest, O god of the 
dark clouds; but thy wrath I always hold in awe and avoid. 
Howbeit, now I fain would smite a fair ship of the Phaea- 
cians, as she comes home from a convoy on the misty deep, 
that thereby they may learn to hold their hands, and cease 
from giving escort to men; and I would overshadow their 
city with a great mountain.' 

And Zeus, the gatherer of the clouds, answered him, say- 
ing : * Friend, learn now what seems best in my sight. At 
an hour when the folk are all looking forth from the city at 
the ship upon her way, smite her into a stone hard by the 
land; a stone in the likeness of a swift ship, that all m.ankind 
may marvel, and do thou overshadow their city with a great 
mountain.' 

Now when Poseidon, shaker of the earth, heard this saying, 
he went on his way to Scheria, where the Phaeacians dwell. 
There he abode awhile; and lo, she drew near, the sea- 
faring ship, lightly sped upon her way. Then nigh her came 
the shaker of the earth, and he smote her into a stone, and 
rooted her far below with the down-stroke of his hand; and 
he departed thence again. 

Then one to the other they spake winged words, the 
Phaeacians of the long oars, mariners renowned. And thus 
would they speak, looking each man to his neighbour: 

*Ah me! who is this that fettered our swift ship on the 
deep as she drave homewards? Even now she stood full in 
sight.' 

Even so. they would speak; but they knew not how these 
things were ordained And Alcinous made harangue and 
spake among them : 

* Lo now, in very truth the ancient oracles of my father 
have come home to me. He was wont to say that Poseidon 
was jealous of us, for that we give safe escort to all men. 
He said that the day would come when the god would smite 
a fair ship of the Phaeacians, as she came home from a 
convoy on the misty deep, and overshadow our city with a 



186 HOMER 

great mountain. Thus that ancient one would speak; and 
lo, all these things now have an end. But come, let us all 
give ear and do according to my word. Cease ye from the 
convoy of mortals, whensoever any shall come unto our 
town, and let us sacrifice to Poseidon twelve choice bulls, if 
perchance he may take pity, neither overshadow our city 
with a great mountain,' 

So spake he, and they were dismayed and got ready the 
bulls. Thus were they praying to the lord Poseidon, the 
princes and counsellors of the land of the Phaeacians, as 
they stood about the altar. 

Even then the goodly Odysseus awoke where he slept on 
his native land; nor knew he the same again, having now 
been long afar, for around him the goddess had shed a mist, 
even Pallas Athene, daughter of Zeus, to the end that she 
might make him undiscovered for that he was, and might 
expound to him all things, that so his wife should not know 
him neither his townsmen and kinsfolk, ere the wooers had 
paid for all their transgressions. Wherefore each thing 
showed strange to the lord of the land, the long paths and 
the sheltering havens and the steep rocks and the trees in 
their bloom. So he started up, and stood and looked upon 
his native land, and then he made moan withal, and smote 
on both his thighs with the down-stroke of his hands, find 
making lament, he spake, saying: 

* Oh, woe is me, unto what mortals' land am I now come? 
Say, are they froward, and wild, and unjust, or hospitable and 
of a god-fearing mind? Whither do I bear all this treasure? 
Yea, where am I wandering myself? Oh that the treasure 
had remained with the Phaeacians where it was, so had 
I come to some other of the mighty princes, who would 
have entreated me kindly and sent me on my way. But now 
I know not where to bestow these things, nor yet will I 
leave them here behind, lest haply other men make spoil of 
them. Ah then, they are not wholly wise or just, the princes 
and counsellors of the Phaeacians, who carried me to a 
strange land. Verily they promised to bring me to clear- 
seen Ithaca, but they performed it not. May Zeus requite 
them, the god of suppliants, seeing that he watches over all 
men and punishes the transgressor ! But come, I will reckon 



THE ODYSSEY 187 

tip these goods and look to them, lest the men be gone, and 
have taken ought away upon their hollow ship.' 

Therewith he set to number the fair tripods and the 
cauldrons and the gold and the goodly woven raiment; and 
of all these he lacked not aught, but he bewailed him for his 
own country, as he walked downcast by the shore of the 
sounding sea, and made sore lament. Then Athene came 
nigh him in the guise of a young man, the herdsman of a 
flock, a young man most delicate, such as are the sons of 
kings. And she had a well-wrought mantle that fell in two 
folds about her shoulders, and beneath her smooth feet she 
had sandals bound, and a javelin in her hands. And 
Odysseus rejoiced as he saw her, and came over against 
her, and uttering his voice spake to her winged words : 

' Friend, since thou art the first I have chanced on in this 
land, hail to thee, and with no ill-will mayest thou meet 
me! Nay, save this my substance and save me too, for to 
thee as to a god I m.ake prayer, and to thy dear knees have 
I come. And herein tell me true, that I may surely know. 
What land, what people is this? what men dv/ell therein? 
Surely, methinks, it is some clear seen isle, or a shore of the 
rich mainland that lies and leans upon the deep.' 

Then the goddess, grey-eyed Athene, spake to him again: 
* Thou art witless, stranger, or thou art come from afar, if 
indeed thou askest of this land; nay, it is not so very name- 
less but that many men knov/ it, both all those who dwell 
toward the dawning and the sun, and they that abide over 
against the light toward the shadowy west. Verily it is 
rough and not fit for the driving of horses, yet is it not a 
very sorry isle, though narrow withal. For herein is corn 
past telling, and herein too wine is found, and the rain is 
on it evermore, and the fresh dew. And it is good for feed- 
ing goats and feeding kine; all manner of wood is here, 
and watering-places unfailing are herein. Wherefore, 
stranger, the name of Ithaca hath reached even unto Troy- 
land, which men say is far from this Achaean shore.' 

So spake she, and the steadfast goodly Odysseus was glad, 
and had joy in his own coimtry, according to the word of 
Pallas Athene, daughter of Zeus, lord of the aegis. And he 
uttered his voice and spake unto her winged words; yet he 



X88 HOMER 

did not speak the truth, but took back the word that was on 
his lips, for quick and crafty was his wit within his breast. 

' Of Ithaca have I heard tell, even in broad Crete, far over 
the seas; and now have I come hither myself with these my 
goods. And I left as much again to my children, when I 
turned outlaw for the slaying of the dear son of Idomeneus, 
Orsilochus, swift of foot, who in wide Crete was the swiftest 
of all men that live by bread. Now he would have despoiled 
me of all that booty of Troy, for the which I had endured 
pain of heart, in passing through the wars of men, and the 
grievous waves of the sea, for this cause that I would not do 
a favour to his father, and make me his squire in the land of 
the Trojans, but commanded other fellowship of mine own. 
So I smote him with a bronze-shod spear as he came home 
from the field, lying in ambush for him by the wayside, with 
one of my companions. And dark midnight held the heavens, 
and no man marked us, but privily I took his life away. 
Now after I had slain him with the sharp spear, straightway 
I went to a ship and besought the lordly Phaeacians, and 
gave them spoil to their hearts' desire. I charged them to 
take me on board, and land me at Pylos or at goodly Elis 
where the Epeans bear rule. Howbeit of a truth, the might 
of the wind drave them out of their course, sore against 
their will, nor did they wilfully play me false. Thence we 
were driven wandering, and came hither by night. And with 
much ado we rowed onward into harbour, nor took we any 
thought of supper, though we stood sore in need thereof, 
but even as we were we stept ashore and all lay down. Then 
over me there came sweet slumber in my weariness, but they 
took forth my goods from the hollow ship, and set them by me 
where I myself lay upon the sands. Then they went on 
board, and departed for the fair-lying land of Sidon; while 
as for me I was left stricken at heart.' 

So spake he and the goddess, grey-eyed Athene, smiled, 
and caressed him with her hand ; and straightway she changed 
to the semblance of a woman, fair and tall, and skilled in 
splendid handiwork. And uttering her voice she spake unto 
him winged words: 

' Crafty must he be, and knavish, who would outdo thee 
in all manner of guile, even if it were a god encountered 



THE ODYSSEY 189 

tliee. Hardy man, subtle of wit, of guile insatiate, so thou 
wast not even in thine own country to cease from thy 
sleights and knavish words, which thou lovest from the 
bottom of thine heart ! But come, no more let us tell of 
these things, being both of us practised in deceits, for that 
thou art of all men far the first in counsel and in discourse, 
and I in the company of all the gods win renown for my wit 
and wile. Yet thou knewest not me, Pallas Athene, daughter 
of Zeus, who am always by thee and guard thee in all ad- 
ventures. Yea, and I made thee to be beloved of all the 
Phaeacians. And now am I come hither to contrive a plot 
with thee and to hide away the goods, that by my counsel 
and design the noble Phaeacians gave thee on thy home- 
ward way. And I would tell thee how great a measure of 
trouble thou art ordained to fulfil within thy v/ell-builded 
house. But do thou harden thy heart, for so it must be, 
and tell none neither man nor woman of all the folk, that 
thou hast indeed returned from wandering, but in silence 
endure much sorrow, submitting thee to the despite of men.' 

And Odysseus of many counsels answered her saying: 
^ Hard is it, goddess, for a mortal man that meets thee to 
discern thee, howsoever wise he be; for thou takest upon 
thee every shape. But this I know well, that of old thou 
wast kindly to me, so long as we sons of the Achaeans 
made war in Troy. But so soon as we had sacked the steep 
city of Priam and had gone on board our ships, and the 
god had scattered the Achaeans, thereafter I have never be- 
held thee, daughter of Zeus, nor seen thee coming on board 
my ship, to ward off sorrow from me — but I wandered ever- 
more with a stricken heart, till the gods delivered me from 
my evil case — even till the day when, within the fat land 
of the men of Phaeacia, thou didst comfort me with thy 
words, and thyself didst lead me to their city. And now 
I beseech thee in thy father's name to tell me: for I deem 
not that I am come to clear-seen Ithaca, but I roam over 
some other land, and methinks that thou speakest thus to 
mock me and beguile my mind. Tell me whether in very 
deed I am come to mine own dear country.' 

Then the goddess, grey-eyed Athene, answered him: 
' Yea^ such a thought as this is ever in thy breast. Where- 



190 HOMER 

fore I may in no wise leave thee in thy grief, so courteous 
art thou, so ready of wit and so prudent. Right gladly would 
any other man on his return from wandering have hasted to 
behold his children and his wife in his halls; but thou hast 
no will to learn or to hear aught, till thou hast furthermore 
made trial of thy wife, who sits as ever in her halls, and 
wearily for her the nights wane always and the days, in 
shedding of tears. But of this I never doubted, but ever 
knew it in my heart that thou wouldest come home with the 
loss of all thy company. Yet, I tell thee, I had no mind to 
be at strife with Poseidon, m.y own father's brother, who laid 
up wrath in his heart against thee, being angered at the 
blinding of his dear son. But come, and I will show thee the 
place of the dwelling of Ithaca, that thou mayst be assured, 
Lo, here is the haven of Phorcys, the ancient one of the 
sea, and here at the haven's head is the olive tree with 
spreading leaves, and hard by it is the pleasant cave and 
shadowy, sacred to the nymphs that are called the Naiads. 
Yonder, behold, is the roofed cavern, where thou offeredst 
many an acceptable sacrifice of hecatombs to the nymphs; 
and lo, this hill is Neriton, all clothed in forest.' 

Therewith the goddess scattered the mist, and the land 
appeared. Then the steadfast goodly Odysseus was glad 
rejoicing in his ov/n land, and he kissed the earth, the grain- 
giver. And anon he prayed to the nymphs, and lifted up his 
hands, saying: 

* Ye Naiad nymphs, daughters of Zeus, never did I think 
to look on you again, but now be ye greeted in my loving 
prayers: yea, and gifts as aforetime I will give, if the 
daughter of Zeus, driver of the spoil, suffer me of her grace 
myself to live, and bring my dear son to manhood.' 

Then the goddess, grey-eyed Athene, spake to him again : 
' Be of good courage, and let not thy heart be careful about 
these things. But come, let us straightway set thy goods 
in the secret place of the wondrous cave, that there they 
may abide for thee safe. And let us for ourselves advise us 
how all may "be for the very best.' 

Therewith the goddess plunged into the shadowy cave, 
searching out the chambers of the cavern. Meanwhile 
Odysseus brought up his treasure, the gold and the unyielding 



THE ODYSSEY 191 

bronze and fair woven raiment, which the Phaeacians gave 
him. And these things he laid by with care, and Pallas 
Athene, daughter of Zeus, lord of the aegis, set a stone 
against the door of the cave. Then they twain sat down 
by the trunk of the sacred olive tree, and devised death for 
the froward wooers. And the goddess, grey-eyed Athene, 
spake first, saying : 

* Son of Laertes, of the seed of Zeus, Odysseus of many 
devices, advise thee how thou mayest stretch forth thine 
hands upon the shameless wooers, who now these three 
years lord it through thy halls, as they woo thy godlike 
wife and proffer the gifts of wooing. And she, that is ever 
bewailing her for thy return, gives hope to all and makes 
promises to every man and sends them messages, but het 
mind is set on other things.' 

And Odysseus of many counsels answered her, saying: 

* Lo now, in very truth I was like to have perished in my 
halls by the evil doom of Agamemnon, son of Atreus, hadst 
not thou, goddess, declared me each thing aright. Come 
then, weave some counsel whereby I may requite them; and 
thyself stand by me, and put great boldness of spirit within 
me, even as in the day when we loosed the shining coronal 
of Troy. If but thou wouldest stand by me with such eager- 
ness, thou grey-eyed goddess, I would war even with three 
hundred men, with thee my lady and goddess, if thou of thy 
grace didst succour me the while.' 

Then the goddess, grey-eyed Athene, answered him : ' Yea, 
verily I will be near thee nor will I forget thee, whensoever 
we come to this toil: and methinks that certain of the 
wooers that devour thy livelihood shall bespatter the bound- 
less earth with blood and brains. But come, I will make 
thee such-like that no man shall know thee. Thy fair skin I 
will wither on thy supple limbs, and make waste thy yellow 
hair from off thy head, and wrap thee in a foul garment, 
such that one would shudder to see a man therein.^ And I 
will dim thy two eyes, erewhile so fair, in such wise that 
thou mayest be unseemly in the sight of all the wooers and 
o£ thy v/ife and son, whom thou didst leave in thy halls. 
And do thou thyself first of all go unto the swineherd, who 

^Reading 3.v8p<oiTov^ not aydpumot. 



192 HOMER 

tends thy swine, loyal and at one with thee, and loves thy son 
and constant Penelope. Him shalt thou find sitting by the 
swine, as they are feeding near the rock of Corax and 
the spring Arethusa, and there they eat abundance of acorns 
and drink the black water, things whereby swine grow fat 
and well-liking. There do thou abide and sit by the swine, 
and find out all, till I have gone to Sparta, the land of fair 
women, to call Telemachus thy dear son, Odysseus, who hath 
betaken himself to spacious Lacedaemon, to the house of 
Menelaus to seek tidings of thee, whether haply thou are 
yet alive.' 

And Odysseus of many counsels answered her sayings 
* Nay, wherefore then didst thou not tell him, seeing thou 
hast knowledge of all? Was it, perchance, that he too may] 
wander in sorrow over the unharvested seas, and that others 
may consume his livelihood? ' 

Then the goddess, grey-eyed Athene, answered him : ' Nay, 
let him not be heavy on thy heart. I myself was his guide, 
that by going thither he might win a good report. Lo, he 
knows no toil, but he sits in peace in the palace of the son 
of Atreus, and has boundless store about him. Truly the 
young men with their black ship they lie in wait, and are 
eager to slay him ere he come to his own country. But 
this, methinks, shall never be. Yea, sooner shall the earth 
close over certain of the wooers that devour thy livelihood.' 

Therewith Athene touched him with her wand. His fair 
flesh she withered on his supple limbs, and made waste his 
yellow hair from off his head, and over all his limbs she cast 
the skin of an old man, and dimmed his two eyes, erewhile 
so fair. And she changed his raiment to a vile wrap and a 
doublet, torn garments and filthy, stained with foul smoke. 
And over all she clad him with the great bald hide of a swift 
stag, and she gave him a staff and a mean tattered scrip, 
and a cord therewith to hang it. 

And after they twain had taken this counsel together, they 
parted; and she now went to goodly Lacedaemon to fetch 
the son of Odysseus. 




BOOK XIV 

Odysseus, in the form of a beggar, goes to Eumaeus, the master of 
his swine, where he is well used and tells a feigned story, and in- 
forms himself of the behaviour of the wooers. 

UT Odysseus fared forth from the haven by the rough 
track, up the wooded country and through the heights, 
where Athene had showed him that he should find 
the goodly swineherd, who cared most for his substance of all 
the thralls that goodly Odysseus had gotten. 

Now he found him sitting at the vestibule of the house, 
svhere his courtyard was builded high, in a place with wide 
prospect; a great court it was and a fair, with free range 
round it. This the swineherd had builded by himself for 
the swine of his lord who was afar, and his mistress and 
the old man Laertes knew not of it. With stones from the 
quarry had he builded it, and coped it with a fence of white 
thorn, and he had split an oak to the dark core, r.nd without 
he had driven stakes the whole length thereof on either side, 
set thick and close; and within the courtyard he made 
twelve styes hard by one another to be beds for the swine, 
and in each stye fifty grovelling swine were penned, brood 
swine; but the boars slept without. Nov/ these were far 
fewer in number, the godlike wooers minishing them at their 
feasts, for the swineherd ever sent in the best of all the 
fatter hogs. And their tale was three hundred and three- 
score. And by them always slept four dogs, as fierce as wild 
beasts, which the swineherd had bred, a master of men. Now 
he was fitting sandals to his feet, cutting a good brown 
oxhide, while the rest of his fellows, three in all, were abroad 
this way and that, with the droves of swine ; while the fourth 
he had sent to the city to take a boar to the proud wooers, 
as needs he must, that they might sacrifice it and satisfy their 
soul with flesh. 
And of a sudden the baying dogs saw Odysseus^ and they 

G— Vol. 22 193 HC 



194 HOMER 

ran at him yelping, but Odysseus in his wariness sat him 
down, and let the staff fall from his hand. There by his 
own homestead would he have suffered foul hurt, but the 
swineherd with quick feet hasted after them, and sped 
through the outer door, and let the skin fall from his hand. 
And the hounds he chid and drave them this way and that, 
with a shower of stones, and he spake unto his lord, saying: 

' Old man, truly the dogs went nigh to be the death of 
thee all of a sudden, so shouldest thou have brought shame 
on me. Yea, and the gods have given me other pains and 
griefs enough. Here I sit, mourning and sorrowing for my 
godlike lord, and foster the fat swine for others to eat, 
while he craving, perchance, for food, wanders over some 
land and city of men of a strange speech, if haply he yet 
lives and beholds the sunlight. But come with me, let us to 
the inner steading, old man, that when thy heart is satisfied 
with bread and wine, thou too mayest tell thy tale and 
declare whence thou art, and how many woes thou hast 
endured.' 

Therewith the goodly svv^ineherd led him to the steading, 
and took him in and set him down, and strewed beneath 
him thick brushwood, and spread thereon the hide of a 
shaggy wild goat, wide and soft, which served himself for a 
mattress. And Odysseus rejoiced that he had given him 
such welcome, and spake and hailed him: 

* May Zeus, O stranger, and all the other deathless gods 
grant thee thy dearest wish, since thou hast received me 
heartily ! ' 

Then, O swineherd Eumaeus, didst thou answer him, say- 
ing : * Guest of mine, it were an impious thing for me to 
slight a stranger, even if there came a meaner man than thou ;■ 
for from Zeus are all strangers and beggars; and a little 
gift from such as we, is dear; for this is the way with 
thralls, who are ever in fear when young lords like ours 
bear rule over them. For surely the gods have stayed the 
returning of my master, who would have loved me diligently, 
and given me somewhat of my own, a house and a parcel 
of ground, and a comely^ wife, such as a kind lord gives to 
his man, who hath laboured much for him and the s^ork of 

* Reading ivnop(f>6v. 



THE ODYSSEY 195 

whose hands God hath likewise increased, even as he in- 
creaseth this work of mine whereat I abide. Therefore would 
my lord have rewarded me greatly, had he grown old at 
home. But he hath perished, as I would that all the stock 
of Helen had perished utterly, forasmuch as she hath 
caused the loosening of many a man's knees. For he too 
departed to Ilios of the goodly steeds, to get atonement for 
Agamemnon, that so he might war with the Trojans.' 

Therewith he quickly bound up his doublet with his girdle, 
and went his way to the styes, where the tribes of the swine 
were penned. Thence he took and brought forth two, and 
sacrificed them both, and singed them and cut them small, 
and spitted them. And when he had roasted all, he bare 
and set it by Odysseus, all hot as it was upon the spits, and 
he sprinkled thereupon white barley-meal. Then in a bowl 
of ivywood he mixed the honey-sweet wine, and himself sat 
over against him and bade him fall to : 

* Eat now, stranger, such fare as thralls have to hand, even 
flesh of sucking pigs ; but the fatted hogs the wooers devour, 
for they know not the wrath of the gods nor any pity. 
Verily the blessed gods love not frov/ard deeds, but they 
reverence justice and the righteous acts of men. Yet even 
foes and men unfriendly, that land on a strange coast, and 
Zeus grants them a prey, and they have laden their ships and 
depart for home; yea, even on their hearts falls strong fear 
of the wrath of the gods. But lo you, these men know some- 
what, — for they have heard an utterance of a god — , even 
the tidings of our lord's evil end, seeing that they are not 
minded justly to woo, nor to go back to their own, but at ease 
they devour our wealth with insolence, and now there is no 
sparing. For every day and every night that comes from 
Zeus, they make sacrifice not of one victim only, nor of two, 
and wine they draw and waste it riotously. For surely his 
livelihood was great past telling, no lord in the dark main- 
land had so much, nor any in Ithaca itself; nay, not twenty 
men together have wealth so great, and I will tell thee the 
sum thereof. Twelve herds of kine upon the mainland, as 
many flocks of sheep, as many droves of swine, as many 
ranging herds of goats, that his own shepherds and strangers 
pasture. And ranging herds of goats, eleven in all, graze 



196 HOMER 

here by the extremity of the island with trusty men to watch 
them. And day by day each man of these ever drives one of 
the flock to the wooers, whichsoever seems the best of the 
fatted goats. But as for me I guard and keep these swine 
and I choose out for them, as well as I may, the best of the 
swine and send it hence.' 

So spake he, but Odysseus ceased not to eat flesh and 
drink wine right eagerly and in silence, and the while was 
sowing the seeds of evil for the wooers. Now when he had 
well eaten and comforted his heart with food, then the herds- 
man filled him the bowl out of which he was wont himself 
to drink, and he gave it him brimming with wine, and he 
took it and was glad at heart, and uttering his voice spake 
to him winged words: 

* My friend, who was it then that bought thee with his 
wealth, a man so exceedingly rich and mighty as thou de- 
clarest? Thou saidest that he perished to get atonement for 
Agamemnon; tell me, if perchance I may know him, being 
such an one as thou sayest. For Zeus, methinks, and the 
other deathless gods know whether I may bring tidings of 
having seen him; for I have wandered far.' 

Then the swineherd, a master of men, answered him : * Old 
man, no v/anderer who may come hither and bring tidings 
of him can win the ear of his wife and his dear son; but 
lightly do vagrants lie when they need entertainment, and 
care not to tell truth. Whosoever comes straying to the 
land of Ithaca, goes to my mistress and speaks words of 
guile. And she receives him kindly and lovingly and inquires 
of all things, and the tears fall from her eyelids for weeping, 
as is meet for a woman when her lord hath died afar. And 
quickly enough wouldst thou too, old man, forge a tale, if 
any would but give thee a mantle and a doublet for raiment. 
But as for him, dogs and swift fowls are like already to 
have torn his skin from the bones, and his spirit hath left 
him. Or the fishes have eaten him in the deep, and there 
lie his bones swathed in sand-drift on the shore. Yonder 
then hath he perished, but for his friends nought is ordained 
but care, for all, but for me in chief. For never again shall 
I find a lord so gentle, how far soever I may go, not though 
^gain I attain unto the house of my father and my mother, 



THE ODYSSEY 197 

where at first I was born, and they nourished me themselves 
and with their own hands they reared me. Nor henceforth 
it is not for these that I sorrow so much, though I long to 
behold them with mine eyes in mine own country, but desire 
comes over me for Odysseus who is afar. His name, 
stranger, even though he is not here, it shameth me to speak, 
for he loved me exceedingly, and cared for me at heart; 
nay, I call him " worshipful," albeit he is far hence.' 

Then the steadfast goodly Odysseus spake to him again: 
* My friend, forasmuch as thou gainsayest utterly, and sayest 
that henceforth he will not come again, and thine heart is 
ever slov/ to believe, therefore will I tell thee not lightly 
but with an oath, that Odysseus shall return. And let me 
have the wages of good tidings as soon as ever he in his 
journeying shall come hither to his home. Then clothe me 
in a mantle and a doublet, goodly raiment. But ere that, 
albeit I am sore in need I will not take aught, for hateful to 
me even as the gates of hell, is that man, who under stress 
of poverty speaks words of guile. Now be Zeus my wit- 
ness before any god, and the hospitable board and the hearth 
of noble Odysseus whereunto I am come, that all these 
things shall surely be accomplished even as I tell thee. In 
this same year Odysseus shall come hither; as the old moon 
wanes and the new is born shall he return to his home, and 
shall take vengeance on all who here dishonour his wife 
and noble son.' 

Then didst thou make answer, swineherd Eumaeus : ^ Old 
man, it is not I then, that shall ever pay thee these wages of 
good tidings, nor henceforth shall Odysseus ever come to 
his home. Nay drink in peace, and let us turn our thoughts 
to other matters, and bring not these to my remembrance, 
for surely my heart within me is sorrowful whenever any 
man puts me in mind of my true lord. But as for thine oath, 
we will let it go by ; yet, oh that Odysseus may come accord- 
ing to my desire, and the desire of Penelope and of that 
old man Laertes and godlike Telemachus ! But now I make 
a comfortless lament for the boy begotten of Odysseus, even 
for Telem.achus. When the gods had reared him like a 
young sapling, and I thought that he would be no worse 
among men than his dear father, glorious in form and face^ 



198 HOMER 

some god or some man marred his good wits within him, 
and he went to fair Pylos after tidings of his sire. And now 
the lordly wooers lie in wait for him on his way home, that 
the race of godlike Arceisius may perish nameless out of 
Ithaca. Howbeit, no more of him now, whether he shall be 
taken or whether he shall escape, and Cronion stretch out 
his hand to shield him. But come, old man, do thou tell me 
of thine own troubles. And herein tell me true, that I m.ay 
surely know. Who art thou of the sons of men, and 
whence? Where is thy city, where are they that begat thee? 
Say on what manner of ship didst thou come, and how did 
sailors bring thee to Ithaca, and who did they avow them to 
be? For in nowise do I deem that thou camest hither by 
land.* 

And Odysseus of many counsels answered him saying: 
* Yea now, I will tell thee all most plainly. Might we have 
food and sweet wine enough to last for long, while we 
abide within thy hut to feast thereon in quiet, and others be- 
take them to their work; then could I easily speak for a 
whole year, nor yet make a full end of telling all the 
troubles of my spirit, all the travail I have vvTought by the 
will of the gods. 

* I avow that I come by lineage from wide Crete, and am 
the son of a wealthy man. And many other sons he had 
born and bred in the halls, lawful-born of a wedded wife; 
but the mother that bare me was a concubine bought with a 
price. Yet Castor son of Hylax, of whose blood I avow 
me to be, gave me no less honour than his lav/ful sons. Now 
he at that time got worship even as a god from the Cretans 
in the land, for wealth and riches and sons renowned. How- 
beit the fates of death bare him away to the house of Hades, 
and his gallant sons divided among them his living and cast 
lots for it. But to me they gave a very small gift and as- 
signed me a dwelling, and I took unto me a wife, the daugh- 
ter of men that had wide lands, by reason of my valour, for 
that I was no weakling nor a dastard ; but now all my might 
has failed me, yet even so I deem that thou mightest guess 
from seeing the stubble what the grain has been, for of 
trouble I have plenty and to spare. But then verily did 
Ares and Athene give me boldness and courage to hufl 



THE ODYSSEY 199 

through the press of men, whensoever I chose the best war-, 
riors for an ambush, sowing the seeds of evil for my foes; 
no boding of death was ever in my lordly heart, but I would 
leap out the foremost and slay with the spear whoso of my 
foes was less fleet of foot than I. Such an one was I in 
war, but the labour of the field I never loved, nor home- 
keeping thrift, that breeds brave children, but galleys with 
their oars were dear to me, and wars and polished shafts 
and darts — baneful things whereat others use to shudder. 
But that, methinks, v/as dear to me which the god put in 
my heart, for divers men take delight in divers deeds. For 
ere ever the sons of the Achaeans had set foot on the land of 
Troy, I had nine times been a leader of men and of swift- 
faring ships against a strange people, and wealth fell ever 
to my hands. Of the booty I would choose out for me all 
that I craved, and much thereafter I won by lot. So my 
house got increase speedily, and thus I waxed dread and 
honourable among the Cretans. But when Zeus, of the far- 
borne voice, devised at the last that hateful path which 
loosened the knees of m.any a man in death, then the people 
called on me and on renowned Idomeneus to lead the ships 
to Ilios, nor was there any way whereby to refuse, for the 
people's voice bore hard upon us. There we sons of the 
Achaeans warred for nine whole years, and then in the 
tenth year we sacked the city of Priam, and departed home- 
ward with our ships, and a god scattered the Achaeans. 
But Zeus, the counsellor, devised mischief against me, 
wretched man that I was ! For one month only I abode 
and had joy in my children and my wedded wife, and all 
that I had; and thereafter my spirit bade me fit out ships 
in the best manner and sail to Egypt with my godlike com- 
pany. Nine ships I fitted out and the host was gathered 
quickly; and then for six days my dear company feasted, 
and I gave them many victims that they might sacrifice to 
the gods and prepare a feast for themselves. But on the 
seventh day we set sail from wide Crete, with a North Wind 
fresh and fair, and lightly we ran as it were down stream, 
yea, and no harm came to any ship of mine, but we sat 
safe and hale, while the wind and the pilots guided the 
barques. And on the fifth day we came to the fair-flowing 



200 HOME^ 

Aegyptus, and in the river Aegyptus I stayed my curved 
ships. Then verily I bade my dear companions to abide 
there by the ships and to guard them, and I sent forth scouts 
to range the points of outlook. But my men gave place to 
wantonness, being the fools of their own force, and soon 
they fell to v^asting the fields of the Egyptians, exceeding 
fair, and led away their wives and infant children and slew 
the men. And the cry came quickly to the city, and the 
people hearing the shout came forth at the breaking of the 
day, and all the plain was filled with footmen and chariots 
and with the glitter of bronze. And Zeus, whose joy is in 
the thunder, sent an evil panic upon my company, and none 
durst stand and face the foe, for danger encompassed us 
on every side. There they slew many of us with the edge 
of the sword, and others they led up with them alive to 
work for them perforce. But as for me, Zeus himself put 
a thought into my heart; would to God that I had rather 
died, and met my fate there in Egypt, for sorrow was still 
mine host ! Straightway I put off my well-wrought helmet 
from my head, and the shield from off my shoulders, and I 
cast away my spear from my hand, and I came over against 
the chariots of the king, and clasped and kissed his knees, and 
he saved me and delivered me, and setting me on his own 
chariot took me weeping to his home. Truly many an one 
made at me with their ashen spears, eager to slay me, for 
verily they were sore; angered. But the king kept them off 
and had respect unto the wrath of Zeus, the god of 
strangers, who chiefly hath displeasure at evil deeds. So 
for seven whole years I abode with their king, and gathered 
much substance among the Egyptians, for they all gave me 
gifts. But when the eighth year came in due season, there 
arrived a Phoenician practised in deceit, a greedy knave, 
who had already done much mischief among men. He 
wrought on me with his cunning, and took me with him 
until he came to Phoenicia, where was his house and where 
his treasures lay. There I abode with him for the space of 
a full year. But when now the months and days were ful- 
filled, as the year came round and the seasons returned, he 
set me aboard a seafaring ship for Libya, under colour as 
though I was to convey a cargo thither with him, but his 



THE ODYSSEY 201 

purpose was to sell me in Libya, and get a great price. So 
I went with him on board, perforce, yet boding evil. And 
the ship ran before a North Wind fresh and fair, through 
the mid sea over above Crete, and Zeus contrived the de- 
struction of the crew. But when we left Crete, and no land 
showed in sight but sky and sea only, even then the son of 
Cronos stayed a dark cloud over the hollow ship,-, and the 
deep grew dark beneath it. And in the same moment Zeus 
thundered and smote his bolt into the ship, and she reeled 
all over being stricken by the bolt of Zeus, and was filled 
with fire and brimstone, and all the crew fell overboard. 
And like sea-gulls they were borne hither and thither on the 
waves about the black ship, and the god cut off their return. 
But in this hour of my affliction Zeus himself put into my 
Hands the huge mast of the dark-prowed ship, that even yet 
I might escape from harm. So I clung round the mast and 
was borne by the ruinous winds. For nine days was I borne, 
and on the tenth black night the great rolling wave brought 
ttie nigh to the land of the Thesprotians. There the king of 
the Thesprotians, the lord Pheidon, took m.e in freely, for his 
dear son lighted on me and raised me by the hand and led 
me to his house, foredone with toil and the keen air, till he 
came to his father's palace. And he clothed me in a mantle 
and a doublet for raiment. 

There I heard tidings of Odysseus, for the king told me 
that he had entertained him, and kindly entreated him on his 
way to his own country; and he showed me all the wealth 
that Odysseus had gathered, bronze and gold and well- 
wrought iron; yea it would suffice for his children after him 
even to the tenth generation, so great were the treasures 
he had stored in the chambers of the king. He had gone, 
he said, to Dodona to hear the counsel of Zeus, from the 
high leafy oak tree of the god, how he should return to the 
fat land of Ithaca after long absence, v\^hether openly or by 
Stealth. Moreover, he sware, in mine own presence, as he 
poured the drink offering in his house, that the ship was 
drawn down to the sea and his company were ready, who 
were to convey him to his own dear country. But ere that, 
he sent me off, for it chanced that a ship of the Thespro- 
tians was starting for Dulichium, a land rich in gvalm 



2^2 HOMER 

Thither he bade them bring me with all diligence to the 
king Acastus. But an evil counsel concerning me found 
favour in their sight, that even yet I might reach the ex- 
tremity of sorrow. When the seafaring ship had sailed a 
great way^ from the land, anon they sought how they might 
compass for me the day of slavery. They stript me of my 
garments, my mantle and a doublet, and changed my raiment 
to a vile wrap and doublet, tattered garments, even those 
thou seest now before thee ; and in the evening they reached 
the fields of clear-seen Ithaca. There in the decked ship 
they bound me closely with a twisted rope, and themselves 
went ashore, and hasted to take supper by the sea-banks. 
Meanwhile the gods themselves lightly unclasped my bands, 
and muffling my head with the wrap I slid down the smooth 
lading-plank, and set my breast to the sea and rowed hard 
with both hands as I swam, and very soon I was out of the 
water and beyond their reach. Then I went up where there 
was a thicket, a wood in full leaf, and lay there crouching. 
And they went hither and thither, making great moan; 
but when now it seemed to them little avail to go further 
on their quest, they departed back again aboard their hollow 
ship. And the gods themselves hid me easily and brought 
me nigh to the homestead of a wise man; for still, methinks, 
I am ordained to live on.' 

Then didst thou make answer to him, swineherd Eumaeus : 
* Ah ! wretched guest, verily thou hast stirred my heart with 
the tale of all these things, of thy sufferings and thy wan- 
derings. Yet herein, methinks, thou speakest not aright, 
and never shalt thou persuade me with the tale about 
Odysseus; why should one in thy plight lie vainly? Well 
I know of mine own self, as touching my lord's return, that 
he was utterly hated by all the gods, in that they smote him 
not among the Trojans nor in the arms of his friends, when 
he had wound up the clew of war. So should the whole 
Achaean host have builded him a barrow; yea and for his 
son would he have won great glory in the after days; but 
now all ingloriously the spirits of the storm have snatched 
him away. But as for me I dwell apart by the swine and 
go not to the city, unless perchance wise Penelope summons 
me thither, when tidings oi my master are brought I know 



THE ODYSSEY 203 

not v/hence. Now all the people sit round and straitly 
question the news-bearer, both such as grieve for their lord 
that is long gone, and such as rejoice in devouring his 
living without atonement. But I have no care to ask or 
to inquire, since the day that an Aetolian cheated me with 
his story, one who had slain his man and wandered over 
wide lands and came to my steading, and I dealt lovingly 
v/ith him. He said that he had seen my master among the 
Cretans at the house of Idomeneus, m.ending his ships which 
the storms had broken. And he said that he would come 
home either by the summer or the harvest-tide, bringing 
much wealth with the godlike m^en of his company. And 
thou too, old man of many sorrows, seeing that some god 
hath brought thee to me, seek not my grace with lies, nor 
give me any such comfort; not for this will I have respect 
to thee or hold thee dear, but only for the fear of Zeus, 
the god of strangers, and for pity of thyself.* 

And Odysseus of many counsels answered him saying: 
* Verily thy heart within thee is slow to believe, seeing that 
even with an oath I have not won thee, nor find credence 
with thee. But come now, let us make a covenant; and we 
will each one have for witnesses the gods above, who hold 
Olympus. If thy lord shall return to this house, put on me 
a mantle and doublet for raiment, and send me on my ^my 
to DuHchium, whither I had a desire to go. But if thy lord 
return not according to my vv^ord, set thy thralls upon me, 
and cast me down from a mighty rock, that another beggar 
in his turn may beware of deceiving.' 

And the goodly swineherd ansv/ered him, saying: 'Yea 
stranger, even so should I get much honour and good luck 
among m.en both now and ever hereafter, if after bringing 
thee to my hut and giving thee a stranger's cheer, I should 
turn again and slay thee and take away thy dear life. Eager 
indeed thereafter should I be to make a prayer to Zeus the 
son of Cronos ! But now it is supper-time, and would that 
my fellows may speedily be at home, that we may make 
ready a dainty supper within the hut.' 

Thus they spake one to the other. And lo, the swine 
and the swineherds drew nigh. And the swine they shut up 
to sleep in their lairs, and a mighty din arose as the swine 



204 HOMER 

were being stalled. Then the goodly swineherd called to his 
fellows, saying: 

' Bring the best of the swine, that I may sacrifice it for a 
guest of mine from a far land: and we too will have good 
cheer therewith, for we have long suffered and toiled by 
reason of the white-tusked swine, while others devour the 
fruit of our labour without atonement.' 

Therewithal he cleft logs with the pitiless axe, and the 
others brought in a well-fatted boar of five years old; and 
they set him by the hearth nor did the swineherd forget the 
deathless gods, for he was of an understanding heart. But 
for a beginning of sacrifice he cast bristles from the head 
of the white-tusked boar upon the fire, and prayed to all the 
gods that wise Odysseus might return to his own house. 
Then he stood erect, and smote the boar with a billet of 
oak which he had left in the cleaving, and the boar yielded 
up his life. Then they cut the throat and singed the carcase 
and quickly cut it up, and the swineherd took a first portion 
from all the limbs, and laid the raw flesh on the rich fat. 
And some pieces he cast into the fire after sprinkling them 
with bruised barley-meal, and they cut the rest up small, 
and pierced it, and spitted and roasted it carefully, and drew 
it all off from the spits, and put the whole mess together on 
trenchers. Then the swineherd stood up to carve, for well 
he knew what was fair, and he cut up the whole and divided 
it into seven portions. One, when he had prayed, he set 
aside for the nymphs and for Hermes son of Maia, and the 
rest he distributed to each. And he gave Odysseus the por- 
tion of honour, the long back of the white-tusked boar, and 
the soul of his lord rejoiced at this renown, and Odysseus 
of many counsels hailed him saying: 

* Eumaeus, oh tha.t thou mayest so surely be dear to 
father Zeus, as thou art to m^e, seeing that thou honourest 
me with a good portion, such an one as I am ! ' 

Then didst thou make answer, swineherd Eumaeus : 

* Eat, luckless stranger, and make merry with such fare 
as is here. And one thing the god will give and another 
withhold, even as he will, for with him all things are 
possible.' 

So he spake, and made burnt offering of the hallowed 



THE ODYSSEY 205 

parts to the everlasting gods, and poured the dark wine for 
a drink offering, and set the cup in the hands of Odysseus, 
the waster of cities, and sat down by his own mess. And 
Mesaulius bare them wheaten bread, a thrall that the swine- 
herd had gotten all alone, while his lord was away, without 
the knowledge of his mistress and the old Laertes: yea he 
had bought him of the Taphians with his own substance. 
So they stretched forth their hands upon the good cheer 
spread before them. Now after they had put from 
them the desire of meat and drink, Mesaulius cleared away 
the bread, and they, now that they had eaten enough of 
bread and flesh, were moved to go to rest. 

Now it was so that night came on foul with a blind moon, 
and Zeus rained the whole night through, and still the great 
West Wind, the rainy wind, was blowing. Then Odysseus 
spake among them that he might make trial of the swine- 
herd, and see whether he would take off his own mantle and 
give it to him or bid one of his company strip, since he 
cared for him so greatly: 

* Listen now, Eumaeus, and all of you his companions, 
with a prayer will I utter my word ; so bids me witless wine, 
which drives even the wisest to sing and to laugh softly, 
and rouses him to dance, yea and makes him to speak out a 
word which v/ere better unspoken. Howbeit, now that I 
have broken into speech, I will not hide aught. Oh that I 
were young, and my might were steadfast, as in the day 
when we arrayed our ambush and led it beneath Troy town ! 
And Odysseus, and Menelaus son of Atreus, were leaders 
and with them I was a third in command; for so they bade 
me. Now when we had come to the city and the steep 
wall, we lay about the citadel in the thick brushwood, 
crouching under our arms among the reeds and the marsh 
land, and behold, the night came on foul, with frost, as the 
North Wind went down, while the snow fell from above, 
and crusted like rime, bitter cold, and the ice set thick about 
our shields. Now the others all had mantles and doublets, 
and slept in peace with their shields buckled close about 
their shoulders; but I as I went forth had left my mantle 
behind with my men, in my folly, thinking that even so I 
should not be cold: so I came with only my shield and 



206 HOMER 

bright kathern apron. But when it was now the third 
watch of the night and the stars had passed the zenith, in 
that hour I spake unto Odysseus who was nigh me, and 
thrust him with my elbow, and he listened straightway:/ 

' " Son of Laertes, of the seed of Zeus, Odysseus of many 
devices, verily I shall cease from among living men, for this 
wintry cold is slaying me, seeing that I have no mantle. 
Some god beguiled me to wear a doublet only, and hence- 
forth is no way of escape." 

* So I spake, and he apprehended a thought in his heart, 
such an one as he was in counsel and in fight. So he whis- 
pered and spake to me, saying : 

* " Be silent now, lest some other Achaeans hear thee." 
Therewith he raised his head upon his elbow, and spake, 
saying: "Listen, friends, a vision from a god came to me 
in, my sleep. Lo, we have come very far from the ships ; I 
would there were one to tell it to Agamemnon, son of 
Atreus, shepherd of the host, if perchance he may send us 
hither a greater company from the ships." 

' So spake he, and Thoas, son of Andraemon, rose up 
quickly and cast off his purple mantle. And he started to 
run unto the ships, but I lay gladly in his garment, and the 
golden-throned Dawn showed her light. Oh ! that I were 
young as then and my might steadfast ! Then should some 
of the swineherds in the homestead give me a mantle, alike 
for love's sake and for pity of a good warrior. But now 
they scorn me for that sorry raiment is about my body.* 

Then didst thou make answer, O swineherd Eumaeus: 
' Old man, the tale that thou hast told in his praise is very 
good, and so far thou hast not misspoken aught, nor uttered 
a word unprofitably. Wherefore for this night thou shalt 
lack neither raiment nor aught else that is the due of a 
hapless suppliant, when he has met them that can befriend 
him. But in the morning thou shalt go shuffling in thine 
own rags, for there are not many mantles here or changes 
of doublet; for each m.an hath but one coat. But when the 
dear son of Odysseus comes, he himself will give thee a 
mantle and doublet for raiment, and send thee whithersoever 
thy heart and spirit bid.* 

With that he sprang up and set a bed for Odysseus neaf 



THE ODYSSEY 207 

the fire, and thereon he cast skins of sheep and goats. 
Thtre Odysseus laid him down and Eumaeiis cast a great 
thic£ mantle over him, which he had ever by him for a 
change of covering, when any terrible storm should arise. 

So there Odysseus slept, and the young men slept beside 
him. But the swineherd had no mind to lie there in a bed 
away from the boars. So he made him ready to go forth 
and Odysseus was glad, because he had a great care for his 
master's substance Vv^hile he was afar. First he cast his 
sharp sword about his strong shoulders, then he clad him 
in a very thick mantle, to keep the wind away ; and he caught 
up the fleece of a great and well-fed goat, and seized his 
sharp javelin, to defend him against dogs and men. Then 
he went to lay him down even v/here the white-tusked boars 
were sleeping, beneath the hollow of the rock, in a place of 
shelter from the North Wind. 




BOOK XV 

Pallas sends home Telemachus from Lacedaemon with the pres- 
ents given him by Menelaus. Telemachus landed, goes first to 

Eumaeus. 

*0W Pallas Athene went to the v/ide land of Lace- 
daemon, to put the noble son of the great-hearted 
Odysseus in mind of his return, and to make him 
hasten his com.ing. And she found Telemachus, and the 
glorious son of Nestor, couched at the vestibule of the 
house of famous Menelaus. The son of Nestor truly was 
overcome with soft sleep, but sweet sleep gat not hold of 
Telemachus, but, through the night divine, careful thoughts 
for his father kept him wakeful. And grey-eyed Athene 
stood nigh him and spake to him, saying : 

' Telemachus, it is no longer meet that thou shouldest 
wander far from thy home, leaving thy substance behind 
thee, and men in thy house so wanton, lest they divide and 
utterly devour all thy wealth, and thou shalt have gone on a 
vain journey. But come, rouse with all haste Menelaus, of 
the loud war-cry, to send thee on th3r way, that thou mayest 
even yet find thy noble mother in her home. For even now 
her father and her brethren bid her wed Eurymachus, for 
he outdoes all the wooers in his presents, and hath been 
greatly increasing his gifts of wooing. So shall she take no 
treasure from thy house despite thy will. Thou knowest of 
what sort is the heart of a woman within her; all her de- 
sire is to increase the house of the man who takes her to 
wife, but of her former children and of her own dear lord 
she has no more memory once he is dead, and she asks con- 
cerning him no more. Go then, and thyself place all thy 
substance in the care of the handmaid who seems to thee 
the best, till the day when the gods shall show thee a glorious 
bride. Now another word will I tell thee, and do thou 
lay it up in thine heart. The noblest of the wooers lie in 

208 



THE ODYSSEY 209 

wait iOf tliee of purpose, in the strait between Ithaca and 
rugged Samos, eager to slay thee before thou come to thine 
own country. But this, methinks, will never be; yea, sooner 
shall the earth close over certain of the wooers that devour 
thy livelihood. Nay, keep thy well-wrought ship far from 
those isles, and sail by night as well as day, and he of the 
immortals who hath thee in his keeping and protection will 
send thee a fair breeze in thy wake. But when thou hast 
touched the nearest shore of Ithaca, send thy ship and all 
thy company forward to the city, but for thy part seek first 
the swineherd who keeps thy swine, loyal and at one with 
thee. There do thou rest the night, and bid him go to the 
city to bear tidings of thy coming to the wise Penelope, 
how that she hath got thee safe, and thou art come up out 
of Pylos.' 

Therewith she departed to high Olympus. But Telema- 
chus woke the son of Nestor out of sweet sleep, touching 
him with his heel, and spake to him, saying: 

'Awake, Peisistratus, son of Nestor, bring up thy horses 
of solid hoof, and yoke them beneath the car, that we may 
get forward on the road.' 

Then Peisistratus, son of Nestor, answered him, saying: 
'Telemachus, we may in no wise drive through the dark 
night, how eager soever to be gone; nay, soon it will be 
dawn„ Tarry then, till the hero, the son of Atreus, spear- 
famed MenelauSj brings gifts, and sets them on the car, and 
bespeaks thee kindly, and sends thee on thy way. For of 
him a guest is mindful all the days of his life, even of the 
host that shows him loving-kindness.' 

So spake he, and anon came the golden-throned Dawa. 
And Menelaus, of the loud war cry, drew nigh to them, new 
risen from^ his bed, by fair-haired Helen. Now when the 
dear son of Odysseus marked him, he made haste and girt 
his shining doublet about him, and the hero cast a great 
mantle over his mighty shoulders, and went forth at the 
door, and Telemachus, dear son of divine Odysseus, came 
up and spake to Menelaus, saying: 

* Menelaus, son of Atreus, fosterling of Zeus, leader of the 
people, even now do thou speed me hence, to mine own dear 
country; for even now my heart is fain to come home again/ 



210 HOMER / 

Then Menelaus, of the loud war cry, answered hltai 
* Telemachus, as for me, I will not hold thee a long time 
here, that art eager to return; nay, I think it shame e^en 
in another host^ who loves overmuch or hates overmuch. 
Measure is best in all things. He does equal wrong v/ho 
speeds a guest that would fain abide, and stays one who 
is in haste to be gone. Men should lovingly entreat the 
present guest and speed the parting. But abide till I bring 
fair gifts and set thera on the car and thine own eyes be- 
hold them, and I bid the women to prepare the midday meal 
in the halls, out of the good store they have within. Honour 
and glory it is for us, and gain v/ithal for thee, that ye 
should have eaten well ere ye go on your way, over vast 
and limitless lands. What and if thou art minded to pass 
through Hellas and mid Argos? So shall I too go with 
thee, and yoke thee horses and lead thee to the towns of 
men, and none shall send us empty away, but will give 
us some one thing to take with us, either a tripod of goodly 
bronze or a cauldron, or two mxules or a golden chalice.' 

Then wise Telemachus answered him saying : ' Menelaus, 
son of Atreus, fosterling of Zeus, leader of the people, rather 
would I return even now to mine ovm land, for I left none 
behind to watch over my goods when I departed. I would 
not that I myself should perish on the quest of my god- 
like father, nor that any good heir-loom should be lost from 
my halls.' 

Now when Menelaus, of the loud war cry, heard this say- 
ing, straightway he bade his wife and maids to prepare the 
midday meal in the halls, out of the good store they had by 
them. Then Eteoneus, son of Boethous, came nigh him, just 
risen from his bed, for he abode not far from_ him. Him 
Menelaus of the loud war cry bade kindle the fire and 
roast of the flesh ; and he hearkened and obeyed. Then the 
prince went down into the fragrant treasure chamber, not 
alone, for Helen went with him, and Megapenthes. Now, 
when they came to the place where the treasures were 
stored, then Atrides took a two-handled cup, and bade his 
son Megapenthes to bear a mixing bowl of silver. And 
Helen stood by the coffers, wherein were her robes of 
curious needlework which she herself had wrought. Then 



THE ODYSSEY 211 

Helen* the fair lady, lifted one and brought it out, the widest 
and most beautifully embroidered of all, and it shone like 
a star, and lay far beneath the rest. 

Then they went forth through the house till they came to 
Telemachus; and Menelaus, of the fair hair, spake to him 
saying : 

'Telemachus, may Zeus the thunderer, and the lord of 
Here, in very truth bring about thy return according to the 
desire of thy heart. And of the gifts, such as are treasures 
stored in my house, I will give thee the goodliest and 
greatest of price. I will give thee a mixing bowl beautifully 
wrought; it is all of silver and the lips thereof are finished 
with gold, the work of Hephaestus; and the hero Phaedi- 
mus the king of the Sidonians, gave it to me when his house 
sheltered me, on my coming thither. This cup I would give 
to thee.' 

Therewith the hero Atrides set the two-handled cup in his 
hands. And the strong Megapenthes bare the shining silver 
bowl and set it before him. And Helen came up, beautiful 
Helen, with the robe in her hands, and spake and hailed 
him: 

* Lo ! I too give this gift, dear child, a memorial of the 
hands of Helen, against the day of thy desire, even of thy 
bridal, for thy bride to wear it. But meanwhile let it lie 
by thy dear mother in her chamber. And may joy go with 
thee to thy well-builded house, and thine own country.' 

With that she put it into his hands, and he took it and 
was glad. And the hero Peisistratus took the gifts and 
laid them in the chest of the car, and gazed on all and 
wondered. Then Menelaus of the fair hair led them to the 
house. Then they twain sat them down on chairs and high 
seats, and a handmaid bare water for the hands in a goodly 
golden ewer, and poured it forth over a silver basin to wash 
withal, and drew to their side a polished table. And a grave 
dame bare wheaten bread and set it by them, and laid on the 
board many dainties, giving freely of such things as she had 
by her. And the son of Boethous carved by the board and 
divided the messes, and the son of renowned Menelaus 
poured forth the wine. So they stretched forth their hands 
upon the good cheer set before them. Nov/ when they had 



/ 



212 HOMER 

put from them the desire of meat and drink, then did Telem- 
achus and the glorious son of Nestor yoke the horses and 
climb into the inlaid car. And they drave forth from the 
gateway and the echoing gallery. After these Menelaus, of 
the fair hair, the son of Atreus, went forth bearing in his 
right hand a golden cup of honey-hearted wine, that they 
might pour a drink-offering ere they departed. And he 
stood before the horses and spake his greeting: 

' Farewell, knightly youths, and salute in my name Nestor, 
the shepherd of the people; for truly he was gentle to me 
as a father, while v/e sons of the Achaeans warred in the 
land of Troy.' 

And wise Telemachus answered him, saying : ' Yea verily, O 
fosterling of Zeus^ we will tell him all on our coming even as 
thou sayest. Would God that when I return to Ithaca I may 
find Odysseus in his home and tell him all, so surely as now 
I go on my way having met with all loving-kindness at thy 
hands, and take with me treasures many and goodly ! ' 

And even as he spake a bird flew forth at his right hand, 
an eagle that bare in his claws a great white goose, a tame 
fowl from the yard, and men and women followed shouting. 
But the bird drew near them and flew off to the right, across 
the horses, and they that saw it were glad, and their hearts 
were all comforted with them. And Peisistratus, son of 
Nestor, first spake among them: 

' Consider, Menelaus, fosterling of Zeus, leader of the 
people, whether god hath showed forth this sign for us 
twain, or for thee thyself.' 

So spake he, and the warrior Menelaus pondered there- 
upon, how he should take heed to answer, and interpret it 
aright. 

And long-robed Helen took the word and spake, saying: 
'Hear me, and I will prophesy as the immortals put it into 
my heart, and as I deem it will be accomplished. Even as 
yonder eagle came down from the hill, the place of his 
birth and kin, and snatched away the goose that was fostered 
in the house, even so shall Odysseus return home after much 
trial and long wanderings and take vengeance ; yea, or even 
now is he at home and sowing the seeds of evil for all 
the wooers.' 



THE ODYSSEY 213 

Then wise Telemachus answered her, saying : ' Now may 
Zeus ordain it so, Zeus the thunderer and the lord of Here. 
Then would I do thee worship, as to a god, even in my 
home afar.' 

He spake and smote the horses with the lash, and they 
sped quickly towards the plain, in eager course through the 
city. So all day long they swayed the yoke they bore upon 
their necks. And the sun sank, and all the ways were dark- 
ened. And they came to Pherae, to the house of Diodes, 
son of Orsilochus, the child begotten of Alpheus. There 
they rested for the night, and by them he set the enter- 
tainment of strangers. 

Now so soon as early Dawn shone forth, the rosy-fin- 
gered, they yoked the horses and mounted the inlaid car. 
And forth they drave from the gateway and the echoing 
gallery. And he touched the horses with the whip to start 
them, and the pair flew onward nothing loth. And soon 
thereafter they reached the steep hold of Pylos. Then 
Telemachus spake unto the son of Nestor, saying: 

' Son of Nestor, in what wise mightest thou make me a 
promise and fulfil my bidding? For we claim to be friends 
by reason of our fathers' friendship from of old. Moreover, 
we are equals in age, and this journey shall turn to our 
greater love. Take me not hence past my ship, O fosterling 
of Zeus, but leave me there, lest that old man keep me ifl 
his house in my despite, out of his eager kindness, for I must 
go right quickly home.' 

So spake he, and the son of Nestor communed with his 
own heart how he might make promise, and duly fulfil the 
same. So as he thought thereon, in this wise it seemed 
to him best. He turned back his horses toward the swift 
ship and the sea-banks, and took forth the fair gifts and set 
them in the hinder part of the ship, the raiment and the gold 
which Menelaus gave him. And he called to Telemachus 
and spake to him winged words: 

' Now climb the ship with all haste, and bid all thy com- 
pany do likewise, ere I reach home and bring the old man 
word. For well I know in my mind and heart that, being so 
wilful of heart, he will not let thee go, but he himself will 
come hither to bid thee to his house, and methinks that he 



214 HOMER 

will not go back without thee; for very wroth will he be 
despite thine excuse.' 

Thus he spake, and drave the horses with the flowing 
manes back to the town of the Pylians, and came quickly to 
the halls. And Telemachus called to his companions and 
commanded them, saying: 

' Set ye the gear in order, my friends, in the black ship, 
and let us climb aboard that we may make way upon our 
course.' 

So spake he, and they gave good heed and hearkened. 
Then straightway they embarked and sat upon the benches. 

Thus was he busy hereat and praying and making burnt- 
offering to Athene, by the stern of the ship, when there 
drew nigh him one from a far country, that had slain his 
man and was fleeing from out of Argos. He was a sooth- 
sayer and by his lineage he camiC of Melampus, who of 
old time abode in Pylos, mother of flocks, a rich man and 
one that had an exceedingly goodly house am.ong the Pylians, 
but afterward he had come to the land of strangers, fleeing 
from his country and from Neleus, the great-hearted, the 
proudest of living men, who kept all his goods for a full year 
by force. All that time Melampus lay bound with hard 
bonds in the halls of Phylacus, suffering strong pains for 
the sake of the daughter of Neleus, and for the dread blind- 
ness of soul which the goddess, the Erinnys of the dolorous 
stroke, had laid on him. Howsoever, he escaped his fate, 
and drave away the lowing kine from Phylace to Pylos, and 
avenged the foul deed upon godlike Neleus, and brought the 
maiden home to his own brother to wife. As for him, he 
went to a country of other men, to Argos, the pastureland 
of horses; for there truly it was ordained that he should 
dwell, bearing rule over m.any of the Argives. There he 
wedded a wife, and builded him a lofty house, and begat 
Antiphates and Mantius, two mighty sons. Now Antiphates 
begat Oicles the great-hearted, and Okies Amphiaraus, the 
rouser of the host, whom Zeus, lord of the aegis, and Apollo 
loved with all m.anner of love. Yet he reached not the 
threshold of old age, but died in Thebes by reason of a 
woman's gifts. And the sons born to him were Alcmaeon 
and Amphilochus. But Mantius bee-at Polypheides and 



THE ODYSSEY 215 

Oeitusj but it came to pass that the golden-throned Dawn 
snatched away Cleitus for his very beauty's sake, that he 
might dwell with the Immortals. 

And Apollo m.ade the high-souled Polypheides a seer, far 
the chief of human kind, Amphiaraus being now dead. He 
remxoved his dwelling to Hypheresia, being angered with his 
father, and here he abode and prophesied to all men. 

This m.an's son it was, Theoclymenus by name, that now 
drew nigh and stood by Telemachus. And he found him 
pouring a drink-offering and praying by the swift black 
ship, and uttering his voice he spake to him winged words: 

* Friend, since I find thee making burnt-offering in this 
place, I pray thee, by thine offerings and by the god, and 
thereafter by thine own head, and in the name of the men 
of thy company answer my question truly and hide it not. 
Who art thou of the sons of men and whence? Where is 
thy city, where are they that begat thee ? ' 

And wise Telemachus answered him, saying: *Yea now, 
stranger, I will plainly tell thee all. Of Ithaca am I by 
lineage, and my father is Odysseus, if ever such an one there 
was, but now hath he perished by an evil fate. Wherefore 
I have taken my company and a black ship, and have gone 
forth to hear word of my father that has been long afar.' 

Then godlike Theoclymenus spake to him again : * Even 
so I too have fled from my country, for the manslaying of 
one of mine own kin. And many brethren and kinsmen of 
the slain are in Argos, the pastureland of horses, and rule 
mightily over the Achaeans. Wherefore now am I an exile 
to shun death and black fate at their hands, for it is my 
doom yet to wander among men. Now set me on board 
ship, since I supplicate thee in my flight, lest they slay me 
utterly; for methinks they follow hard after me.' 

And wise Telemachus answered him, saying : * Surely I 
will not drive thee away from our good ship, if thou art 
fain to come. Follow thou with us then, and in Ithaca thou 
shalt be welcome to such things as we have.' 

Therewith he took from him his spear of bronze, and laid 
it along the deck of the curved ship, and himself too climbed 
the seafaring ship. Then he sat down in the stern and 
made Theoclymenus to sit beside him; and his company 



JiD* 



216 HOMER 

loosed the hawsers. Then Telemachus called unto his com- 
pany, and bade them lay hands on the tackling, and speedily 
they hearkened to his call. So they raised the mast of pine 
tree, and set it in the hole of the cross plank and made it 
fast with forestays, and hauled up the white sails with 
twisted ropes of ox-hide. And grey-eyed Athene sent them 
a favouring breeze, rushing violently through the clear sky 
that the ship might speedily finish her course over the salt 
water of the sea. So they passed by Crouni and Chalcis, a 
land of fair streams. 

And the sun set and all the ways were darkened. And the 
vessel drew nigh to Pheae, being sped before the breeze 
of Zeus, and then passed goodly Elis where the Epeans bear 
rule. From thence he drave on again to the Pointed Isles, 
pondering whether he should escape death or be cut off. 

Now Odysseus and the goodly swineherd were supping in 
the hut, and the other men sat at meat with them. So 
when they had put from them the desire of meat and drink, 
Odysseus spake among them, to prove the swineherd, 
whether he would still entertain him diligently, and bid him 
abide there in the steading or send him forward to the city : 

* Listen now, Eumaeus, and all the others of the com- 
pany. In the morning I would fain be gone to the town to 
go a begging, that I be not ruinous to thyself and thy fel- 
lows. Now advise me well, and lend me a good guide by 
the way to lead me thither; and through the city will I 
wander alone as needs I must, if perchance one may give 
me a cup of water and a morsel of bread. Moreover I 
would go to the house of divine Odysseus and bear tidings 
to the wise Penelope, and consort with the wanton wooers, 
if haply they might grant me a meal out of the boundless 
store that they have by them. Lightly might I do good 
service among them, even all that they would. For lo ! I 
will tell thee and do thou mark and listen. By the favour 
of Hermes, the messenger, who gives grace and glory to 
all men's work, no mortal may vie with me in the business 
of a serving-man, in piling v/ell a fire, in cleaving dry 
faggots, and in carving and roasting flesh and in pouring 
of wine, those offices wherein meaner men serve their 
betters/ 



^ THE ODYSSEY 217 

Then didst thou speak to him in heaviness of heart, swine- 
herd Eumaeus : * Ah ! wherefore, stranger, hath such a 
thought arisen in thine heart? Surely thou art set on per- 
ishing utterly there, if thou wouldest indeed go into the 
throng of the wooers, whose outrage and violence reachetli 
even to the iron heaven ! Not such as thou are their ser- 
vants; they that minister to them, are young and gaily clad 
in mantles and in doublets, and their heads are anointed 
with oil and they are fair of face, and the polished boards 
are laden with bread and flesh and wine. Nay, abide here, 
for none is vexed by thy presence, neither I nor any of my 
fellows that are with me. But when the dear son of 
Odysseus comes, he himself will give thee a mantle and a 
doublet for raiment, and will send thee whithersoever thy 
heart and spirit bid thee go.* 

Then the steadfast goodly Odysseus answered him : ' Oh, 
that thou mayst so surely be dear to father Zeus as thou art 
to me, in that thou didst make me to cease from wandering 
and dread woe ! For there is no other thing more mis- 
chievous to men than roaming; yet for their cursed belly's 
need men endure sore distress, to whom come wandering 
and tribulation and pain. But behold now, since thou stayest 
me here, and biddest me wait his coming, tell me of the 
mother of divine Odysseus, and of the father whom at his 
departure he left behind him on the threshold of old age; 
are they, it may be, yet alive beneath the sunlight, or already 
dead and within the house of Hades ? ' 

Then spake to him the swineherd, a master of men : * Yea 
now, stranger, I will plainly tell thee all. Laertes yet lives, 
and prays evermore to Zeus that his life may waste from out 
his limbs within his halls. For he has wondrous sorrow for 
his son that is far away, and for the wedded lady his wise 
wife, whose death afflicted him in chief and brought him to 
old age before his day. Now she died of very grief for her 
son renowned, by an evil death, so may no man perish who 
dwells here and is a friend to me in word and deed ! So 
long as she was on earth, though in much sorrow, I was glad 
to ask and enquire concerning her, for that she herself 
had reared me along with long-robed Ctimene, her noble 
daughter, the youngest of her children. With her I was 



218 HOMER 

reared, and she honoured me little less than her own. But 
when we both came to the time of our desire, to the flower 
of age, thereupon they sent her to Same, and got a great 
bride-price; but my lady clad me in a mantle and a doublet, 
raiment very fair, and gave me sandals for my feet and sent 
me forth to the field, and right dear at heart she held me. 
But of these things now at last am I lacking ; yet the blessed 
gods prosper the work of mine own hands, whereat I abide. 
Of this my substance I have eaten and drunken and given 
to reverend strangers. But from my lady I may hear nought 
pleasant, neither word nor deed, for evil hath fallen on her 
house, a plague of fro ward men; yet thralls have a great 
desire to speak before their mistress and find out all and 
eat and drink, and moreover to carry off somewhat with 
them to the field, such things as ever comfort the heart 
of a thrall.' 

And Odysseus of many counsels answered him saying: 
*Ah, Eumaeus, how far then didst thou wander from thine 
own country and thy parents while as yet thou wast but a 
child ! But come, declare me this and plainly tell it all. Was 
a wide-way ed town of men taken and sacked, wherein dwelt 
thy father and thy lady mother, or did unfriendly men find 
thee lonely, tending sheep or cattle, and shipped thee thence, 
and sold thee into the house of thy master here, who paid 
for thee a goodly price?' 

Then spake to him the swineherd, a master of men: 
' Stranger, since thou askest and questionest me hereof, give 
heed now in silence and make merry, and abide here drink- 
ing wine. Lo, the nights now are of length untold. Time 
is there to sleep, and time to listen and be glad; thou 
needest not turn to bed before the hour; even too much 
sleep is vexation of spirit. But for the rest, let him whose 
heart and mind bid him, go forth and slumber, and at the 
dawning of the day let him break his fast, and follow our 
master's swine. But let us twain drink and feast within 
the steading, and each in his neighbour's sorrows take de- 
light recalling them, for even the memory of griefs is a 
joy to a man who hath been sore tried and wandered far. 
Wherefore I will tell thee that whereof thou askest and dost 
question me. 



THE ODYSSEY 219 

^ There is a certain isle called Syria, if haply thou hast 
heard tell of it, over above Ortygia, and there are the turn- 
ing-places of the sun. It is not very great in compass, 
though a goodly isle, rich in herds, rich in flocks, with plenty 
of corn and wine. Dearth never enters the land, and no 
hateful sickness falls on wretched mortals. But when the 
tribes of men grow old in that city, then comes Apollo of 
the silver bow, with Artemis, and slays them with the visi- 
tation of his gentle shafts. In that isle are two cities, and 
the whole land is divided between them, and my father was 
king over the twain, Ctesius son of Ormenus, a man like to 
the Immortals. 

' Thither came the Phoenicians, mariners renowned, 
greedy merchant men, with countless gauds in a black ship. 
Now in my father's house was a Phoenician woman, tall 
and fair and skilled in bright handiwork; this woman the 
Phoenicians with their sleights beguiled. First as she was 
washing clothes, one of them lay with her in love by the 
hollow ship, for love beguiles the minds of womankind, even 
of the upright. Then he asked her who she was and whence 
she came, and straightway she showed him the lofty home 
of my father, saying: 

' " From out of Sidon I avow that I come, a land rich in 
bronze, and I am the daughter of Arybas, the deeply 
wealthy. But Taphians, who were sea-robbers, laid hands 
on me and snatched me away as I came in from the fields, 
and brought me hither and sold me into the house of my 
master, who paid for me a goodly price." 

' Then the man who had lain with her privily, answered ; 
" Say, wouldst thou now return home with us, that thou 
mayst look again on the lofty house of thy father and mother' 
and on their faces? For truly they yet live, and have a 
name for wealth." 

' Then the woman answered him and spake, saying : 
" Even this may well be, if ye sailors v/ill pledge me an 
oath to bring me home in safety." 

* So spake she, and they all swore thereto as she bade 
them. Now when they had sworn and done that oath, again 
the v/oman spake among them and answered, saying: 

* " Hold your peace now, and let none of your fellows 



220 HOMER 

speak to me and greet me, if they meet me in the street, 
or even at the well, lest one go and tell it to the old man at 
home, and he suspect somewhat and bind me in hard bonds 
and devise death for all of you. But keep ye the matter in 
mind, and speed the purchase of your homeward freight. 
And when your ship is freighted with stores, let a message 
come quickly to me at the house; for I v/ill likewise bring 
gold, all that comes under my hand. Yea and there is 
another thing that I would gladly give for my fare. I am 
nurse to the child of my lord in the halls, a most cunning 
little boy, that runs out and abroad with me. Him would I 
bring on board ship, and he should fetch you a great price, 
wheresoever ye take him for sale among men of strange 
speech." 

'Therewith she went her way to the fair halls. But they 
abode among us a whole year, and got together much wealth 
in their hollow ship. And when their hollow ship v/as now 
laden to depart, they sent a messenger to tell the tidings to 
the woman. There came a man versed in craft to my 
father's house, with a golden chain strung here and there 
with amber beads. Now the maidens in the hall and m.y lady 
mother were handling the chain and gazing on it, and offer- 
ing him their price ; but he had signed silently to the woman, 
and therewithal gat him away to the hollow ship. Then she 
took me by the hand and led me forth from the house. And 
at the vestibule of the house she found the cups and the 
tables of the guests that had been feasting, who were in 
waiting on my father. They had gone forth to the session 
and the place of parley of the people. And she straightway 
hid three goblets in her bosom, and bare them away, and I 
followed in my innocence. Then the sun sank and all the 
ways were darkened. And we went quickly and came to 
the good haven, where was the swift ship of the Phoenicians. 
So they climbed on board and took us up with them, and 
sailed over the wet ways, and Zeus sent us a favouring 
wind. 

^ For six days we sailed by day and night continually ; 
but when Zeus, son of Cronos, added the seventh day thereto, 
then Artemis, the archer, smote the woman that she fell, as 
a sea-swallow falls, with a plunge into the hold. And they 



A 

y 



THE ODYSSEY ^ 22^1 

cast her forth to be the prey of seals and fishes, but I was 
left stricken at heart. And wind and water bare them and 
brought them to Ithaca, where Laertes bought me with his 
possessions. And thus it chanced that mine eyes beheld 
this land.' 

Then Odysseus, of the seed of Zeus, answered him, 
saying : 

* Eumaeus, verily thou hast stirred my heart within me 
with the tale of all these things, of all the sorrow of heart 
thou hast endured. Yet surely Zeus hath given thee good as 
well as evil, since after all these adventures thou hast 
come to the house of a kindly man, who is careful to 
give thee meat and drink and right well thou livest. But I 
have come hither still wandering through the many towns 
of men.* 

Thus they spake one with the other. Then they laid 
them down to sleep for no long while, but for a little space, 
for soon camxC the throned Dawn. But on the shore the 
company of Telem.achus were striking their sails, and took 
down the mast quickly and rowed the ship on to anchorage. 
And they cast anchors and made fast the hawsers, and 
themselves too stept forth upon the strand of the sea, and 
made ready the midday meal, and mixed the dark wine. 
Now when they had put from them the desire of meat and 
drink, wise Telemachus first spake among them : 

' Do ye now drive the black ship to the city, while I will 
go to the fields and to the herdsmen, and at even I will 
return to the city, when I have seen my lands. And in the 
morning I will set by you the wages of the voyage, a good 
feast of flesh and of sweet wine.' 

Then godlike Theoclymenus answered him : ' And whither 
shall I go, dear child? To what man's house shall I betake 
me, of such as are lords in rocky Ithaca? Shall I get me 
straight to thy mother and to thy home ? ' 

Then wise Telemachus answered him, saying : * In other 
case I would bid thee go even to our own house; for there 
is no lack of cheer for strangers, but now would it be worse 
for thyself, forasmuch as I shall be away nor would my 
mother see thee. For she comes not often in sight of the 
wooers in the house, but abides apart from them in her 



222 HOMER 

upper chamber, and weaves at her web. Yet there is one 
whom I will tell thee of, to whom thou mayst go, Eurym- 
achus, the glorious son of wise Polybus, whom now the 
men of Ithaca look upon, even as if he were a god. For 
he is far the best man of them all, and is most eager to wed 
my mother and to have the sovereignty of Odysseus. How- 
beit, Olympian Zeus, that dwells in the clear sky, knows 
hereof, whether or no he will fulfil for them the evil day 
before their marriage.' 

Now even as he spake, a bird flew out on the right, a 
hawk, the swift messenger of Apollo. In his talons he held 
a dove and plucked her, and shed the feathers down to the 
earth, midway between the ship and Telemachus himself. 
Then Theoclymenus called him apart from his fellows, and 
clasped his hand and spake and hailed him : 

* Telemachus, surely not without the god's will hath the 
bird flown out on the right, for I knew when I saw him that 
he was a bird of omen. There is no other house more kingly 
than yours in the land of Ithaca; nay, ye have ever the 
mastery.' 

And wise Telemachus answered him, saying : * Ah, 
stranger, would that this word may be accomplished ! Soon 
shouldest thou be aware of kindness and many a gift at 
my hands, so that whoso met with thee would call thee 
blessed.' 

Then he spake to Piraeus, his trusty companion : ' Piraeus, 
son of Clytius, thou that at other seasons hearkenest to me 
above all my company who went with me to Pylos, even 
now, I pray, lead this strange^ home with thee, and give 
. heed to treat him lovingly and with worship in thy house 
till I come.' 

Then Piraeus, spearsman renowned, answered him say- 
ing: 'Telemachus, why, even if thou shouldest tarry here 
long, yet will I entertain this man, and he shall have no lack 
of stranger's cheer.' 

Therewith he went on board, and bade his men themselves 
to mount and loose the hawsers. And quickly they em- 
barked and sat upon the benches. And Telemachus bound 
his goodly sandals beneath his feet, and seized a mighty 
spear, shod with sharp bronze, from the deck of the ship 



THE ODYSSEY 223 

and his men loosed the hawsers. So they thrust off and 
sailed to the city, as Telemachus bade them, the dear son of 
divine Odysseus. But swiftly his feet bore him on his 
forward way, till he came to the court, where were his 
swine out of number; and among them the good swineherd 
slept, a man loyal to his lords. 



BOOK XVI 

Telemachus sends Eumaeus to the city to tell his mother of his 
return. And how, in the meantime, Odysseus discovers himself to 
his son. 

■""^'yOW these twain, Odysseus and the goodly swineherd, 

^y within the hut had kindled a fire, and were making 
-*" ^ ready breakfast at the dawn, and had sent forth the 
herdsmen with the droves of swine. And round Telemachus 
the hounds, that love to bark, fawned and barked not, as he 
drew nigh. And goodly Odysseus took note of the fawning 
of the dogs, and the noise of footsteps fell upon his ears. 
Then straight he spake to Eumaeus winged words : 

* Eumaeus, verily some friend or some other of th]/ 
familiars will soon be here, for the dogs do not bark but 
fawn around, and I catch the sound of footsteps.^ 

While the word was yet on his lips, his own dear son 
stood at the entering in of the gate. Then the swineherd 
sprang up in amazement, and out of his hands fell the 
vessels wherewith he was busied in mingling the dark wine. 
And he came over against his master and kissed his head 
and both his beautiful eyes and both his hands, and he let a 
great tear fall. And even as a loving father welcomes his 
son that has come in the tenth year from a far country, his 
only son and well-beloved, for whose sake he has had great 
sorrow and travail, even so did the goodly swineherd fall 
upon the neck of godlike Telemachus, and kiss him all over 
as one escaped from death, and he wept aloud and spake to 
him winged words: 

' Thou are come, Telemachus, a sweet light in the dark ; 
methought I should see thee never again, after thou hadst 
gone in thy ship to Pylos. Nay now enter, dear child, that 
my heart may be glad at the sight of thee in mine house, 
who hast newly come from afar. For thou dost not often 
visit the field and the herdsmen, but abidest in the town; so 

224 



THE ODYSSEY 225 

it seems has thy good pleasure been, to look on the ruinous 
throng of the wooers/ 

Then wise Telemachus answered him, saying : ' So be it, 
father, as thou sayest ; and for thy sake am I come hither to 
see thee with mine eyes, and to hear from thy lips whether 
my mother yet abides in the halls or another has already 
wedded her, and the couch of Odysseus, perchance, lies in 
lack of bedding and deep in foul spider-webs/ 

Then the swineherd, a master of men, answered him: 
' Yea, verily, she abides with patient spirit in thy halls, and 
wearily for her the nights wane always and the days, in 
shedding of tears/ 

So he spake and took from him the spear of bronze. 
Then Telemachus passed within and crossed the threshold 
of stone. As he came near, his father Odysseus arose from 
his seat to give him place; but Telemachus, on his part, 
stayed him and spake saying: 

' Be seated, stranger, and we will find a seat some other 
where in our steading, and there is a man here to set it 
for us.' 

So he spake, and Odysseus went back and sat him down 
again. And the swineherd strewed for Telemachus green 
brushwood below, and a fleece thereupon, and there presently 
the dear son of Odysseus sat him down. Next the swine- 
herd set by them platters of roast flesh, the fragments that 
were left from the meal of yesterday. And wheaten bread 
he briskly heaped up in baskets, and mixed the honey-sweet 
wine in a goblet of ivy wood, and himself sat down over 
against divine Odysseus. So they stretched forth their 
hands upon the good cheer set before them. Now when 
they had put from them^ the desire of meat and drink, Telema- 
chus spake to the goodly swineherd, saying : 

'Father, whence camxC this stranger to thee? How did 
sailors bring him to Ithaca ? and who did they avow them to 
be ? For in no wise, I deem, did he come hither by land/ 

Then didst thou make answer, swineherd Eumaeus : * Yea 
now, my son, I will tell thee all the truth. Of wide Crete he 
avows him to be by lineage, and he says that round many 
cities of mortals he has wandered at adventure; even so has 
some god spun for him the thread of fate. But now, as a 

H— VoU 22 HO 



226 HOMER 

runaway from a ship of the Thesprotians, has he come to my 
steading, and I will give him to thee for thy man; do with 
him as thou wilt ; he avows him for thy suppliant/ 

Then wise Telemachus answered him, saying : * Eumaeus, 
verily a bitter word is this that thou speakest. How indeed 
shall I receive this guest in my house? Myself I am young, 
and trust not yet to my strength of hands to defend me 
against the man who does violence without a cause. And my 
mother has divisions of heart, whether to abide here with me 
and keep the house, respecting the bed of her lord and the 
voice of the people, or straightway to go with whomsoever 
of the Achaeans that woo her in the halls is the best man, 
and gives most bridal gifts. But behold, as for this guest of 
thine, now that he has come to thy house, I will clothe him 
in a mantle and a doublet, goodly raiment, and I will give 
him a two-edged sword, and shoes for his feet, and send him 
on his way, whithersoever his heart and his spirit bid him go. 
Or, if thou wilt, hold him here in the steading and take care 
of him, and raiment I will send hither, and all manner of 
food to eat, that he be not ruinous to thee and to thy fellows. 
But thither into the company of the wooers would I not 
suffer him to go, for they are exceeding full of infatuate 
insolence, lest they mock at him, and that would be a sore 
grief to me. And hard it is for one man, how valiant soever, 
to achieve aught among a multitude, for verily they are far 
the stronger/ 

Then the steadfast goodly Odysseus answered him : * My 
friend, since it is indeed my right to answer thee withal, of a 
truth my heart is rent as I hear your words, such infatuate 
deeds ye say the wooers devise in the halls, in despite of 
thee, a man so noble. Say, dost thou willingly submit thee 
to oppression, or do the people through the township hate 
thee, obedient to the voice of a god? Or hast thou cause to 
blame thy brethren, in whose battle a man puts trust, even if 
a great feud arise? Ah, would that I had the youth, as 
How I have the spirit, and were either the son of noble 
Odysseus or Odysseus* very self,^ straightway then might 
a istranger sever my head from off my neck, if I went not to 

=^We omit line loi, which spoils the sense of the passage, and was 
rejected by anti(luity. 



THE ODYSSEY 227 

the halls of Odysseus, son of Laertes, and made myself the 
bane of every man among them ! But if they should over- 
come me by numbers, being but one man against so many, 
far rather would I die slain in mine own halls, than witness 
for ever these unseemly deeds, strangers shamefully en- 
treated, and men haling the handmaidens in foul wise through 
the fair house and wine drawn wastefully and the wooers 
devouring food all recklessly without avail, at a work that 
knows no ending.* 

Then wise Telemachus answered him, saying : * Yea now, 
stranger, I will plainly tell thee all. There is no grudge and 
hatred borne me by the whole people, neither have I cause 
to blame my brethren, in whose battle a man puts trust, even 
if a great feud arise. For thus, as thou seest, Cronion has 
made us a house of but one heir. Arceisius got him one 
only son Laertes, and one only son Odysseus was be- 
gotten of his father, and Odysseus left me the only child of 
his getting in these halls, and had no joy of me; wherefore 
now are foemen innumerable in the house. For all the no- 
blest that are princes in the islands, in Dulichium and Same 
and wooded Zacynthus, and as many as lord it in rocky 
Ithaca, all these woo my mother and waste my house. But 
as for her she neither refuseth the hated bridal, nor hath the 
heart to make an end ; so they devour and minish my house ; 
and ere long will they make havoc likewise of myself. How- 
beit these things surely lie on the knees of the gods. Nay, 
father, but do thou go with haste and tell the constant 
Penelope that she hath got me safe and that I am come up 
out of Pylos. As for me, I will tarry here, and do thou 
return hither when thou hast told the tidings to her alone; 
but of the other Achaeans let no man learn it, for there be 
many that devise mischief against me.' 

Then didst thou make answer, swineherd Eumaeus: *I 
mark, I heed, all this thou speakest to one with under- 
standing. But come, declare me this and tell it plainly; 
whether or no I shall go the same road with tidings to 
Laertes, that hapless man, who till lately, despite his great 
sorrow for Odysseus' sake, yet had oversight of the tillage, 
and did eat and drink with the thralls in his house, as often 
as hi§ heart within him bade him. But now, from the day 



228 HOMER 

that thou wentest in thy ship to Pylos, never to this hour, 
they say, hath he so much as eaten and drunken, nor looked 
to the labours of the field, but with groaning and lamenta- 
tion he sits sorrowing, and the flesh wastes away about his 
bones/ 

Then wise Telemachus answered him, saying: * All the 
more grievous it is ! yet will we let him be, though we sor- 
row thereat. For if men might in any wise have all their 
will, we should before aught else choose the day of my 
father's returning. But do thou when thou hast told the 
tidings come straight back, and go not wandering through 
the fields after Laertes. But speak to my mother that with 
all speed she send forth the house-dame her handmaid, 
secretly, for she might bear tidings to the old man.' - 

With that word he roused the swineherd, who took his 
sandals in his hands and bound them beneath his feet and 
departed for the city. Now Athene noted Eumaeus the 
swineherd pass from the steading, and she drew nigh in the 
semblance of a woman fair and tall, and skilled in splendid 
handiwork. And she stood in presence manifest to Odysseus 
over against the doorway of the hut; but it was so that 
Telemachus saw her not before him and marked her not; 
for the gods in no wise appear visibly to all. But Odysseus 
was ware of her and the dogs likewise, which barked not, 
but with a low whine shrank cowering to the far side of the 
steading. Then she nodded at him with bent brows, and 
goodly Odysseus perceived it, and came forth from the 
room, past the great wall of the yard, and stood before her, 
and Athene spake to him, saying: 

' Son of Laertes, of the seed of Zeus, Odysseus of many 
devices, now is the hour to reveal thy word to thy son, and 
hide it not, that ye twain having framed death and doom 
for the wooers, may fare to the famous town. Nor will I, 
even I, be long away from you, being right eager for battle.' 

Therewith Athene touched him with her golden wand. 
First she cast about his breast a fresh linen robe and a 
doublet, and she increased his bulk and bloom. Dark his 
colour grew again, and his cheeks filled out, and the black 
beard spread thick around his chin. 

Now she, when she had so wrought, withdrew again, but 



THE ODYSSEY 229 

Odysseus went into the hut, and his dear son marvelled at 
him and looked away for very fear lest it should be a god, 
and he uttered his voice and spake to him winged words: 

' Even now, stranger, thou art other in my sight than that 
thou wert a moment since, and other garments thou hast, 
and the colour of thy skin is no longer the same. Surely 
thou art a god of those that keep the wide heaven. Nay 
then, be gracious, that we may offer to thee well-pleasing 
sacrifices and golden gifts, beautifully wrought; and spare 
us I pray thee.' 

Then the steadfast goodly Odysseus answered him, say- 
ing : * Behold, no god am I ; why likenest thou me to the im- 
mortals? nay, thy father am I, for whose sake thou sufferest 
many pains and groanest sore, and submittest thee to the 
despite of men.' 

At the word he kissed his son, and from his cheeks let a 
tear fall to earth : before, he had stayed the tears continually. 
But Telemachus (for as yet he believed not that it was his 
father) answered in turn and spake, saying: 

' Thou art not Odysseus my father, but some god be- 
guiles me, that I may groan for more exceeding sorrow. 
For it cannot be that a mortal man should contrive this by 
the aid of his own wit, unless a god were himself to visit 
him, and lightly of his own will to make him young or 
old. For truly, but a moment gone, thou wert old and 
foully clad, but now thou art like the gods who keep the 
wide heaven.' 

Then Odysseus of many counsels answered him saying: 

* Telemachus, it fits thee not to marvel overmuch that thy 
father is come home^ or to be amazed. Nay, for thou shaft 
find no other Odysseus come hither any more; but lo, I, all 
as I am, after sufferings and much wandering have come in 
the twentieth year to mine own country. Behold, this is the 
work of Athene, driver of the spoil, who makes me such 
manner of man as she will, — for with her it is possible, — 
now like a beggar, and now again like a young man, and 
one clad about in rich raiment. Easy it is for the gods who 
keep the wide heaven to glorify or to abase a mortal man.' 

With this word then he sat down again; but Telemachus, 
flinging himself upon his noble father's neck, mourned and 



230 HOMER 

shed tears, and in both their hearts arose the desire o£ 
lamentation. And they wailed aloud, more carelessly than 
birds, sea-eagles or vultures of crooked claws, whose young- 
lings the country folk have taken from the nest, ere yet they 
are fledged. Even so pitifully fell the tears beneath their 
brows. And now would the sunlight have gone down upon 
their sorrowing, had not Telemachus spoken to his father 
suddenly : 

^ And in what manner of ship, father dear, did sailors at 
length bring thee hither to Ithaca? and who did they avow 
them to be ? For in no wise, I deem, didst thou come hither 
by land.' 

And the steadfast goodly Odysseus answered him : * Yea 
now, my child, I will tell thee all the truth. The Phaeacians 
brought me hither, mariners renowned, who speed other men 
too upon their v/ay, whosoever comes to them. Asleep in 
the swift ship they bore me over the seas and set me down 
in Ithaca, and gave me splendid gifts, bronze and gold in 
plenty and woven raiment. And these treasures are lying by 
the gods' grace in the caves. But now I am come hither by 
the promptings of Athene, that we may take counsel for the 
slaughter of the foemen. But come, tell me all the tale of 
the wooers and their number, that I may know how many 
and what men they be, and that so I may commune with my 
good heart and advise me, whether we twain shall be able 
alone to make head against them without aid, or whether we 
should even seek succour of others.' 

Then wise Telemachus answered him, saying : ' Verily, 
father, I have ever heard of thy great fame, for a warrior 
hardy of thy hands, and sage in counsel. But this is a hard 
saying of thine: awe comes over me; for it may not be that 
two men should do battle with many men and stalwart. For 
of the wooers there are not barely ten nor twice ten only, but 
many a decad more : and straight shalt thou learn the tale of 
them ere we part. From Dulichium there be two and fifty 
chosen lords, and six serving men go with them ; and out of 
Same four and twenty men; and from Zacynthus there are 
twenty lords of the Achaeans; and from Ithaca itself full 
twelve men of the best, and with them Medon the henchman, 
and the divine minstrel, and two squires skilled in carving 



THE ODYSSEY 231 

Viands. If we shall encounter all these v/ithin the halls, see 
thou to it^ lest bitter and baneful for us be the vengeance thou 
takest on their violence at thy coming. But do thou, if thou 
canst think of some champion^ advise thee of any that may 
help us with all his heart/ 

Then the steadfast goodly Odysseus answered him, 
saying : 

*Yea now, I will tell thee, and do thou mark and listen 
to me, and consider whether Athene Vv'ith Father Zeus will 
suffice for us twain, or whether I shall cast about for some 
other champion/ 

Then wise Telemachus answered him, saying : * Valiant 
helpers, in sooth, are these two thou namest, v/hose seat is 
aloft in the clouds, and they rule among all men and among 
the deathless gods ! ' 

Then the steadfast goodly Odysseus answered him : * Yet 
will the twain not long keep aloof from the strong tumult of 
war, when between the wooers and us in my halls is held 
the trial of the might of Ares. But as now, do thou go 
homeward at the breaking of the day, and consort with the 
proud wooers. As for me, the swineherd will lead me to 
the town later in the day, in the likeness of a beggar, a 
wretched man and an old. And if they shall evil entreat me 
in the house, let thy heart harden itself to endure while I am 
shamefully handled, yea even if they drag me by the feet 
through the house to the doors, or cast at me and smite me : 
still do thou bear the sight. Howbeit thou shalt surely bid 
them cease from their folly, exhorting them- with smooth 
words; yet no whit will they hearken, nay for the day of 
their doom is at hand. Yet another thing will I tell thee, 
and do thou ponder it in thy heart. When Athene, of deep 
counsel, shall put it into my heart, I will nod to thee 
with my head and do thou note it, and carry away all thy 
v/eapons of war that lie in the halls, and lay them down 
every one in the secret place of the lofty chamber. And 
when the wooers miss them and ask thee concerning them, 
thou shalt beguile them with soft words, saying : 

* " Out of the smoke I laid them by, since they were no 
longer like those that Odysseus left behind him of old when 
he went to Troy, but they are wholly marred : so mightily 



232 HOMER 

hath passed upon them the vapour of fire. Moreover, 
Cronion hath put into my heart this other and greater care, 
that perchance, when ye are heated with wine, ye set a 
quarrel between you and wound one the other and thereby 
shame the feast and the wooing; for iron of itself draws a 
man thereto." But for us twain alone leave two swords and 
two spears and two shields of oxhide to grasp, that we may 
rush upon the arms and seize them; and then shall Pallas 
Athene and Zeus the counsellor enchant the wooers to their 
ruin. Yet another thing will I tell thee, and do thou ponder 
it in thy heart. If in very truth thou art my son and of 
our blood, then let no man hear that Odysseus is come home ; 
neither let Laertes know it, nor the swineherd nor any of 
the household nor Penelope herself, but let me and thee 
alone discover the intent of the women. Yea, and we would 
moreover make trial of certain of the men among the thralls, 
and learn who^ of them chances to honour us and to fear us 
heartily, and who regards us not at all and holds even thee 
in no esteem, so noble a man as thou art.' 

Then his renowned son answered him, and said : * O my 
father, of a truth thou shalt learn, methinks, even hereafter 
what spirit I am of, for no whit doth folly possess me. But 
I deem not that this device of thine will be gainful to us 
twain, so I bid thee to give heed. For thou shalt be long 
time on thy road to little purpose, making trial of each man, 
while thou visitest the farm lands; but at ease in thy halls 
the wooers devour thy goods with insolence, and now there 
is no sparing. Howbeit I would have thee take knowledge 
of the women, who they be that dishonour thee, and who 
are guiltless. But of the men I would not that we should 
make trial in the steadings, but that we should see to this 
task afterwards, if indeed thou knowest some sign from 
Zeus, lord of the aegis.' 

Thus they spake one to the other. And now the well- 
builded ship was being brought to land at Ithaca, the ship 
that bare Telemachus from Pylos with all his company. 
When they were now come within the deep harbour, the men 
drew up the black ship on the shore, while squires, haughty 
pf hearty bare away their weapons, and straightway carried 

® Reading 6 JK«»«5, 



THE ODYSSEY 233 

the glorious gifts to the house of Clytius. Anon they sent 
forward a herald to the house of Odysseus to bear the 
tidings to prudent Penelope, namely, how Telemachus was 
in the field, and had bidden the ship sail to the city, lest the 
noble queen should be afraid, and let the round tears fall. 
So these two met, the herald and the goodly swineherd, 
come on the same errand to tell all to the lady. Now when 
they were got to the house of the divine king, the herald 
spake out among all the handmaids saying: 

* Verily, O queen, thy son hath come out of Pylos/ 

But the swineherd went up to Penelope, and told her all 
that her dear son had bidden him say. So, when he had 
declared all that had been enjoined him, he went on his way 
to the swine and left the enclosure and the hall. 

Now the wooers were troubled and downcast in spirit, and 
forth they went from the hall past the great wall of the 
court, and there in front of the gates they held their session. 
And Eurymachus son of Polybus first spake among them 
saying : 

* Verily, friends, a proud deed hath Telemachus accom- 
plished with a high hand, even this journey, and we said that 
he should never bring it to pass. But come, launch we a 
black ship, the best there is, and let us get together oarsmen 
of the sea, who shall straightway bear word to our friends to 
return home with speed.' 

The word was yet on his lips, when Amphinomus turned 
in his place and saw the ship within the deep harbour, and 
the men lowering the sails and with the oars in their hands. 
Then sweetly he laughed out and spake among his fellows: 

* Nay, let us now send no message any more, for lo, they 
are come home. Either some god has told them all or they 
themselves have seen the ship of Telemachus go by, and 
have not been able to catch her.' 

Thus he spake, and they arose and went to the sea- 
banks. Swiftly the men drew up the black ship on the 
shore, and squires, haughty of heart, bare away their 
weapons. And the wooers all together went to the assem- 
bly-place, and suffered none other to sit with them, either 
of the young men or of the elders. Then Antinous spake 
among them^ the son of Eupeithes: 



234 HOMER 

' Lo now, how the gods have delivered this mart from his 
evil case ! All day long did scouts sit along the windy- 
headlands, ever in quick succession, and at the going down 
of the sun we never rested for a night upon the shore, but 
sailing with our swift ship on the high seas we awaited the 
bright Dawn, as we lay in wait for Telemachus, that we 
might take and slay the man himself; but meanwhile some 
god has brought him home. But even here let us devise an 
evil end for him, even for Telemachus, and let him not escape 
out of our hands, for methinks that while he lives we shall 
never achieve this task of ours. For he himself has under- 
standing in counsel and wisdom, and the people no longer 
show us favour in all things. Nay come, before he assembles 
all the Acbaeans to the gathering; for methinks that he will 
in nowise be slack, but will be exceeding wroth, and will 
stand up and speak out among them all, and tell how we 
plotted against him sheer destruction but did not overtake 
him. Then will they not approve us, when they hear these 
evil deeds. Beware then lest they do us a harm, and drive 
us forth from our country, and we come to the land of 
strangers. Nay, but let us be beforehand and take him in 
the field far from the city, or by the way; and let us our- 
selves keep his livelihood and his possessions, making fair 
division among us, but the house we would give to his 
mother to keep and to whomsoever marries her. But if this 
Saying likes you not, but ye chose rather that he should live 
and keep the heritage of his father, no longer then let lis 
gather here and eat all his store of pleasant substance, but 
let each one from^ his own hall woo her with his bridal gifts 
and seek to win her; so should she wed the man that gives 
the most and comes as the chosen of fate.' 

So he spake, and they all held their peace. Then Amphin- 
omus made harangue and spake out among them; he was 
the famous son of Nisus the prince, the son of Aretias, and 
he led the wooers that came from out Dulichium, a land rich 
in wheat and grass, and more than all the rest his words 
were pleasing to Penelope, for he was of an understanding 
mind. And now of his good- will he made harangue, and 
Spake among them: 

'^FriendS; I for one would not choose to kill Telemachus; 



THE ODYSSEY 235 

it is a fearful thing to slay one of the stock of kings ! Nay, 
first let us seek to the counsel of the gods, and if the oracles 
of great Zeus approve, myself I will slay him and bid all the 
rest to aid. But if the gods are disposed to avert it, I bid 
you to refrain.' 

So spake Amphinomus, and his saying pleased them well. 
Then straightway they arose and went to the house of 
Odysseus, and entering in sat down on the polished seats. 

Then the wise Penelope had a new thought, namely, to 
show herself to the wooers, so despiteful in their insolence; 
for she had heard of the death of her son that was to be 
in the halls, seeing that Medon the henchman had told her of 
it, who heard their counsels. So she went on her way to the 
hall, with the women her handmaids. Now when that fair 
lady had come unto the wooers, she stood by the pillar of the 
well-builded roof, holding up her glistening tire before her 
face, and rebuked Antinous and spake and hailed him : 

'AntinouS, full of all insolence, deviser of mischief ! and 
yet they say that in the land of Ithaca thou art chiefest 
among thy peers ill counsel and in speech. Nay, no such man 
dost thou show thyself. Fool ! why indeed dost thou contrive 
death and doom for Telemachus, and hast no regard unto sup- 
pliants who have Zeus to witness? Nay but it is an impious 
thing to contrive evil one against another. What ! knowest 
thou not of the day when thy father fled to this house in fear 
of the people, for verily they were exceedingly wroth against 
him, because he had followed with Taphian sea robbers and 
harried the Thesprotians, who v/ere at peace with us. So they 
wished to destroy thy father and wrest from him his dear 
life, and utterly to devour all his great and abundant liveli- 
hood; but Odysseus stayed and withheld them, for all their 
desire. His house thou now consumest without atonement, 
and his wife thou wooest, and wouldst slay his son, and 
fiost greatly grieve me. But I bid thee cease, and com- 
mand the others to do likewise.' 

Then Eurymachus, son of Polybus, answered her saying: 
'Daughter of Icarius, wise Penelope, take courage, and let 
not thy heart be careful for these things. The man is not, 
nor shall be, nor ever shall be born, that shall stretch forth 
his hands against Telemachus, thy son, while I live and am 



23S HOMER 

on earth and see the light. For thus will I declare to thee, 
and it shall surely come to pass. Right quickly shall the black 
blood of such an one flow about our spear; for Odysseus, 
waster of cities, of a truth did many a time set me too upon 
his knees, and gave me roasted flesh into my hand, and held 
the red wine to my lips. Wherefore Telemachus is far the 
dearest of all men to me, and I bid him have no fear of 
death, not from the wooers' hands; but from the gods none 
may avoid it.' 

Thus he spake comforting her, but was himself the while 
framing death for her son. 

Now she ascended to her shining upper chamber, and 
then was bewailing Odysseus, her dear lord, till grey-eyed 
Athene cast sweet sleep upon her eyelids. 

And in the evening the goodly swineherd came back to 
Odysseus and his son, and they made ready and served 
the supper, when they had sacrificed a swine of a year old. 
Then Athene, drew near Odysseus, son of Laertes, and smote 
him with her wand, and made him into an old man again. 
In sorry raiment she clad him about his body, lest the swine- 
herd should look on him and know him, and depart to tell 
the constant Penelope, and not keep the matter in his heart. 

Then Telemachus spake first to the swineherd, saying: 

*Thou hast come, goodly Eumaeus. What news is there 
in the town ? Are the lordly wooers now come in from their 
ambush, or do they still watch for me as before on my 
homeward way ? ' 

Then didst thou make answer, swineherd Eumaeus : ' I had 
fio mind to go down the city asking and inquiring hereof; 
my heart bade me get me home again, as quick as might be, 
when once i had told the tidings. And the swift messen- 
ger from thy company joined himself unto me, the hench- 
man, who was the first to tell the news to thy mother. Yet 
this, too, I know, if thou wouldest hear ; for I beheld it with 
mine eyes. Already had I come in my faring above the city, 
where is the hill Hermaean, when I marked a swift ship 
entering our haven, and many men there were in her, and 
she was laden with shields and two-headed spears, and 
methought they were the wooers, but I know not at all.'^ 

So spake he, and the mighty prince Telem.achus smiled. 



THE ODYSSEY 237 

and glanced at his father, while he shunned the eye of the 
swineherd. 

Now when they had ceased from the work and got supper 
ready, they fell to feasting, and their hearts lacked not ought 
of the equal banquet. But when they had put from them 
the desire of meat and drink, they bethought them of rest, 
and took the boon of sleep. 



BOOK XVII 

Telemachus relates to his mother what he had heard of Pylos 

and Sparta 

|0 SOON as early Dawn shone forth, the rosy-fingered, 
then Telemachus, the dear son of divine Odysseus, 
bound beneath his feet his goodly sandals, and took up 
his mighty spear that fitted his grasp, to make for the city; 
and he spake to his swineherd, saying: 

*Verily, father, I am bound for the city, that my mother 
may see me, for methinks that she will not cease from griev- 
ous wailing, and tearful lament, until she beholds my very 
face. But this comm.and I give thee: Lead this stranger, 
the hapless one, to the city, that there he may beg his meat, 
and whoso chooses will give him a morsel of bread and a 
cup of water. As for myself, I can in no wise suffer every 
guest who comes to me, so afflicted am I in spirit. But if 
the stranger be sore angered hereat, the more grievous will 
it be for himself; howbeit I for one love to speak the truth/ 

And Odysseus of many counsels answered him saying: 'I 
too, my friend, have no great liking to be left behind here. 
It is better that a beggar should beg his meat in the town 
than in the fields, and whoso chooses will give it me. For I 
am not now of an age to abide at the steading, and to obey in 
all things the word of the master. Nay go, and this man 
that thou biddest will lead me, so soon as I shall be warmed 
with the fire, and the sun waxes hot. For woefully poor are 
these garments of mine, and I fear lest the hoar frost of 
the dawn overcome me; moreover ye say the city is far 
away.' 

So he spake, and Telemachus passed out through the stead- 
ing, stepping forth at a quick pace, and was sowing seeds 
of evil for the wooers. Now when he was come to the 
fair-lying house, he set his spear against the tall pillar and 

233 



THE ODYSSEY 239 

leaned it there, and himself went in and crossed the thresh- 
old of stone. 

And the nurse Eurycleia saw him far before the rest, as 
she was strewing skin coverlets upon the carven chairs, and 
straightway she drew near him, weeping, and all the other 
maidens of Odysseus, of the hardy heart, were gathered about 
him, and kissed him lovingly on the head and shoulders. Now 
wise Penelope came forth from her chamber, like Artemis or 
golden Aphrodite, and cast her arms about her dear son, and 
fell a weeping, and kissed his face and both his beautiful 
eyes, and wept aloud, and spake to him v/inged words: 

* Thout art come, Telemachus, a sweet light in the dark ; 
methought I should see thee never again, after thou hadst 
gone in thy ship to Pylos, secretly and without my will, to 
seek tidings of thy dear father. Come now, tell me, what 
sight thou didst get of him ? ' 

And wise Telemachus answered her, saying : ' Mother 
mine, wake not wailing in my soul, nor stir the heart within 
the breast of me, that have but now fled from utter death. 
Nay, but wash thee in water, and take to thee fresh raiment, 
and go aloft to t^ine upper chamber with the women thy 
handmaids, and vow to all the gods an acceptable sacrifice 
of hecatombs, if haply Zeus may grant that deeds of requital 
be made. But I will go to the assembly-place to bid a 
stranger to our house, one that accompanied me as I came 
hither from Pylos. I sent him forward with my godlike com- 
pany, and commanded Piraeus to lead him home, and to take 
heed to treat him lovingly and vv^ith worship till I should 
come.' 

Thus he spake, and wingless her speech remained. And 
she washed her in water, and took to her fresh raiment, and 
vowed to all the gods an acceptable sacrifice of hecatombs, 
if haply Zeus might grant that deeds of requital should be 
made. 

Now Telemachus went out through the hall with the spear 
in his hand: and two swift hounds bare him company. And 
Athene shed on him a wondrous grace, and all the people 
marvelled at him as he came. And the lordly wooers gath- 
ered about him with fair words on their lips, but brooding 
evil in the deep of their heart. Then he avoided the great 



240 HOMER 

press of the wooers, but where Mentor sat, and Antiphus, 
and Halitherses, who were friends of his house from of old, 
there he went and sat down; and they asked him of all his 
adventures. Then Piraeus, the famed spearsman, drew nigh, 
leading the stranger to the assembly-place by the way of 
the town ; and Telemachus kept not aloof from him long, but 
went up to him. 

Then Piraeus first spake to him, saying : * Bestir the 
women straightway to go to my house, that I may send thee 
the gifts that Menelaus gave thee.' 

Then wise Telemachus answered him, saying : ' Piraeus, 
we know not how these m.atters will fall out. If the lordly 
wooers shall slay me by guile in the halls, and divide among 
them the heritage of my father, then I should wish thee to 
keep and enjoy the gifts thyself, rather than any of these. 
But if I shall sow the seeds of death and fate for the wooers, 
then gladly bring me to the house the gifts that I will gladly 
take.' 

Therewith he led the travel-worn stranger to the house. 
Now when they came to the fair-lying palace, they laid 
aside their mantles on the chairs and high seats, and went 
to the polished baths and bathed them. So when the maidens 
had bathed them and anointed them with olive oil, and cast 
about them thick mantles and doublets, they came forth from 
the baths, and sat upon the seats. Then the handmaid bare 
water for the hands in a goodly golden ewer, and poured it 
forth over a silver basin to wash withal, and drew to their 
side a polished table. And the grave dame bare wheaten 
bread, and set it by them, and laid on the board many 
dainties, giving freely of such things as she had by her. And 
the mother of Telemachus sat over against him by the pillar 
of the hall, leaning against a chair, and spinning the slender 
threads from the yarn. And they stretched forth their hands 
upon the good cheer set before themi. Now when they had 
put from them the desire of meat and drink, the wise Pe- 
nelope first spake among them: 

* Telemachus, verily I will go up to my upper chamber, 
and lay me in my bed, the place of my groanings, that is ever 
watered by my tears since the day that Odysseus departed 
with the sons of Atreus for Ilios. Yet thou hadst no care 



THE ODYSSEY 241 

to tell me clearly, before the lordly v/ooers came to this 
house, concerning the returning of thy father, if haply thou 
hast heard thereof/ 

And wise Telemachus answered her, saying: *Yea now, 
mother, I will tell thee all the truth. We went to Pylos and 
to Nestor, the shepherd of the people, and he received me in 
his lofty house, and was diligent to entreat me lovingly, as 
a father might his son that had but newly come from strange 
lands after many years; even so diligently he cared for me 
with his renowned sons. Yet he said that he had heard no 
word from any man on earth concerning Odysseus, of the 
hardy heart, whether alive or dead. But he sent me forward 
on my way with horses and a chariot, well compact, to Mene- 
laus, son of Atreus, spearman renowned. There I saw Argive 
Helen, for whose sake the Argives and Trojans bore much 
travail by the gods' designs. Then straightway Menelaus, of 
the loud war-cry, asked me on what quest I had come to 
goodly Lacedaemon. And I told him all the truth. Then be 
made answer, and spake, saying : 

* ''Out upon them, for truly in the bed of a brave-hearted 
man were they minded to lie, very cravens as they are ! Even 
as when a hind hath couched her newborn fawns unweaned 
in a strong lion's lair, and searcheth out the mountain-knees 
and grassy hollows, seeking pasture ; and afterward the lion 
Cometh back to his bed, and sendeth forth unsightly death 
upon that pair, even so shall Odysseus send forth unsightly 
death upon the wooers. Would to our father Zeus, and 
Athene and Apollo, would that in such might as when of old 
in stablished Lesbos he rose up in strife and wrestled with 
Philomeleides, and threw him mightily, and all the Achaeans 
rejoiced; would that in such strength Odysseus might con- 
sort with the wooers ; then should they all have swift fate and 
bitter wedlock! But for that whereof thou askest and en- 
treatest me, be sure I will not swerve from the truth in aught 
that I say, nor deceive thee; but of all that the ancient one 
of the sea, whose speech is sooth, declareth to me, not a 
word will I hide or keep from thee. He said that he saw 
Odysseus in an island, suffering strong pains in the halls of 
the nymph Calypso, who holds him there perforce ; so that he 
may not come to his own country, for he has by him no ships 



242 KOMER 

with oars, and no companions to send him on his way over 
the broad back of the sea." So spake Menelaus, son of 
Atreus, spearsman renowned. Then having fulfilled all, I set 
out for home, and the deathless gods gave me a fair wind, 
and brought me swiftly to mine own dear country/ 

So he spake, and stirred her heart within her breast. And 
next the godlike Theoclymenus spake among them: 

' O wife revered of Odysseus, son of Laertes, verily he 
hath no clear knowledge ; but my word do thou mark, for I 
will prophesy to thee most truly and hide nought. Now 
Zeus be witness before any god, and this hospitable board 
and this hearth of noble Odysseus, whereunto I am come, 
that Odysseus is even now of a surety in his own country, 
resting or faring, learning of these evil deeds, and sowing 
the seeds of evil for all the wooers. So clear was the omen 
of the bird that I saw as I sat on the decked ship, and I 
proclaimed it to Telemachus.' 

Then wise Penelope answered him, saying : * Ah, stranger, 
would that this thy word may be accomplished ! Soon 
shouldest thou be aware of kindness and of many a gift at 
my hands, so that whoso met with thee would call thee 
blessed.' 

Thus they spake one to the other. But the wooers mean- 
time were before the palace of Odysseus, taking their 
pleasure in casting of weights and of spears on a levelled 
place, as heretofore, in their insolence. But when it was 
now the hour for supper, and the flocks came home from 
the fields all around, and the men led them whose custom 
it was, then Medon, who of all the henchmen was most to 
their mind, and was ever with them at the feast, spake to 
them, saying: 

' Noble youths, now that ye have had sport to your hearts* 
content, get you into the house, that we may make ready a 
feast ; for truly it is no bad thing to take meat in season.' 

Even so he spake, and they rose up and departed, and 
were obedient to his word. Now when they were come into 
the fair-lying house, they laid aside their mantles on the 
chairs and high seats, and they sacrificed great sheep and 
stout goats, yea, and the fatlings of the boars and an heifer 
of the herd, and got ready the feast. 



THE ODYSSEY 243^ 

Now all this while Odysseus and the goodly swineherd 
were bestirring them to go from the field to the city; and 
the swineherd, a master of men, spake first saying: 

* Well, my friend, forasmuch as I see thou art eager to be 
going to the city to-day, even as my master gave command ; 
— though myself I would well that thou shouldest be left 
here to keep the steading, but I hold him in reverence and 
fear, lest he chide me afterwards, and grievous are the re- 
bukes of masters — come then, let us go on our way, for lo, 
the day is far spent, and soon wilt thou find it colder toward 
evening/ 

Then Odysseus of many counsels answered him saying: 
*'I mark, I heed: all this thou speakest to one with under- 
standing. But let us be going, and be thou my guide withal 
to the end. And if thou hast anywhere a staff ready cut, 
give it me to lean upon, for truly ye said that slippery was 
the way/ 

Therewith he cast about his shoulders a mean scrip, all 
tattered, and a cord withal to hang it, and Eumaeus gave 
him a staff to his mind. So these twain went on their way, 
and the dogs and the herdsmen stayed behind to guard the 
steading. And the swineherd led his lord to the city in the 
guise of a beggar, a wretched man and an old, leaning on a 
staff; and sorry was the raiment wherewith he was clothed 
upon. But as they fared along the rugged path they drew 
near to the town, and came to the fair flowing spring, with 
a basin fashioned, whence the people of the city drew water. 
This well Ithacus and Neritus and Polyctor had builded. 
And around it was a thicket of alders that grow by the 
waters, all circlewise, and down the cold stream fell fromx a 
Ack on high, and above was reared an altar to the Nymphs, 
whereat all wayfarers made offering. In that place Melan- 
thius, son of Dolius, met them, leading his goats to feast 
the wooers, the best goats that were in all the herds; and 
two herdsmen bare him company. Now when he saw them 
he reviled them, and spake and hailed them, in terrible and 
evil fashion, and stirred the heart of Odysseus, saying: 

' Now in very truth the vile is leading the vile, for god 
brings ever like to like ! Say, whither art thou leading this 
glutton, — thou wretched swineherd, — this plaguy beggar, a 



244 HOMER 

kill-joy of the feast? He is one to stand about and rub his 
shoulders against many doorposts, begging for scraps of 
meat, not for swords or cauldrons. If thou wouldst give me 
the fellow to watch my steading and sweep out the stalls, 
and carry fresh fodder to the kids, then he might drink whey 
and get him a stout thigh. Howbeit, since he is practised 
only in evil, he will not care to betake him to the labour of 
the farm, but rather chooses to go louting through the land 
asking alms to fill his insatiate belly. But now I will speak 
out and my word shall surely be accomplished. If ever he 
fares to the house of divine Odysseus, many a stool that 
men's hands hurl shall fly about his head, and break upon 
his ribs,^ as they pelt him through the house.' 

Therewith, as he went past, he kicked Odysseus on the 
hip, in his witlessness, yet he drave him not from the path, 
but he abode steadfast. And Odysseus pondered whether 
.he should rush upon him and take away his life with the 
Staff, or lift him in his grasps and smite his head to the 
earth. Yet he hardened his heart to endure and refrained 
himself. And the swineherd looked at the other and re- 
buked him, and lifting up his hands prayed aloud: 

' Nymphs of the well-water, daughters of Zeus, if ever 
Odysseus burned on your altars pieces of the thighs of rams 
or kids, in their covering of rich fat, fulfil for me this wish : 
— oh that he, even he, may come home, and that some god 
may bring him ! Then would he scatter all thy bravery, 
which now thou flauntest insolently, wandering ever about 
the city, while evil shepherds destroy the flock.' 

Then Melanthius, the goatherd, answered : * Lo now, "what 
a word has this evil-witted dog been saying ! Some day I 
will take him in a black decked ship far from Ithaca, thaet 
he may bring me in much livelihood. Would God that 
Apollo, of the silver bow, might smite Telemachus to-day 
in the halls, or that he might fall before the wooers, so surely 
as for Odysseus the day of returning has in a far land 
gone by ! ' 

\Reading TrXevpaC, 

2 a/j,^ou6ls is perhaps best taken as an adverb in -St? formed from <l^<|)i, 
though some letters of the word are still left obscure. Most modem com- 
mentators, however, derive it from a.;u.</)t. and a56as, 'near the ground '| 
bence, in this context, * lift him by the feet.' 



THE ODYSSEY 245 

So he spake and left them there as they walked slowly on. 
But Melanthius stepped forth, and came very speedily to 
the house of the prince, and straightway he went in and sat 
down among the wooers, over against Eurymachus, who 
chiefly showed him kindness. And they that ministered set 
by him a portion of flesh, and the grave dame brought 
wheaten bread and set it by him to eat. Now Odysseus 
and the goodly swineherd drew near and stood by, and the 
sound of the hollow lyre rang around them, for Phemius 
was lifting up his voice amid the company in song, and 
Odysseus caught the swineherd by the hand, and spake, 
saying : 

' Eumaeus, verily this is the fair house of Odysseus, and 
right easily might it be known and marked even among 
many. There is building beyond building, and the court of 
the house is cunningly wrought with a wall and battlements, 
and well-fenced are the folding doors; no man may hold 
it in disdain. And I see that many men keep revel within, 
for the savour of the fat rises upward,^ and the voice of the 
lyre is heard there, which the gods have made to be the 
mate of the feast.' 

Then didst thou make answer, swineherd Eumaeus: 
'Easily thou knowest it, for indeed thou never lackest un- 
derstanding. But come, let us advise us, how things shall 
fall out here. Either do thou go first within the fair-lying 
halls, and join the company of the' wooers, so will I remain 
here, or if thou wilt, abide here, and I will go before thy 
face, and tarry not long, lest one see thee without, and hurl 
at thee or strike thee. Look well to this, I bid thee.* 

Then the steadfast goodly Odysseus answered him, say- 
ing : ' I mark, I heed, all this thou speakest to one with 
understanding. Do thou then go before me, and I will re- 
main here, for well I know what it is to be smitten 
and hurled at. My heart is full of hardiness, for much 
evil have I suffered in perils of waves and war; let 
this be added to the tale of those. But a ravening belly may 
none conceal, a thing accursed, that works much ill for 
men. For this cause too the benched ships are furnished, 
that bear mischief to foemen over the unharvested seas/ 

' Reading avrivaOev^ 



246 HOMER 

Thus they spake one to the other. And lo, a hound raised 
up his head and pricked his ears, even where he lay, Argos, 
the hound of Odysseus, of the hardy heart, which of old 
himself had bred, but had got no joy of him, for ere that, 
he went to sacred Ilios. Now in time past the young men 
used to lead the hound against wild goats and deer and 
hares; but as then, despised he lay (his master being afar) 
in the deep dung of mules and kine, whereof an ample bed 
was spread before the doors, till the thralls of Odysseus 
should carry it away to dung therewith his wide demesne. 
There lay the dog Argos, full of vermin. Yet even now 
when he was ware of Odysseus standing by, he wagged his 
tail and dropped both his ears, but nearer to his master he 
had not now the strength to draw. But Odysseus looked 
aside and wiped away a tear that he easily hid from Eu- 
maeus, and straightway he asked him, saying: 

* Eumaeus, verily this is a great marvel, this hound lying 
here in the dung. Truly he is goodly of growth, but I 
know not certainly if he have speed with this beauty, or if 
he be comely only, like as are men's trencher dogs that their 
lords keep for the pleasure of the eye.' 

Then didst thou make answer, swineherd Eumaeus : ' In 
very truth this is the dog of a man that has died in a far 
land. If he were what once he was in limb and in the feats 
of the chase, when Odysseus left him to go to Troy, soon 
wouldst thou marvel at the sight of his swiftness and his 
strength. There was no beast that could flee from him 
in the deep places of the wood, when he was in pursuit; for 
even on a track he was the keenest hound. But now he is 
holden in an evil case, and his lord hath perished far from 
his own country, and the careless women take no charge of 
him. Nay, thralls are no more inclined to honest service 
when their masters have lost the dominion, for Zeus, of the 
far-borne voice, takes away the half of a man's virtue, when 
the day of slavery comes upon him.^ 

Therewith he passed within the fair-lying house, and v/ent 
straight to the hall, to the company of the proud wooers. 
But upon Argos came the fate of black death even in the 
hour that he beheld Odysseus again, in the twentieth year. 

Now godlike Telemachus v^as far the first to behold the 



THE ODYSSEY 247 

swineherd as he came into the hall, and straightway then 
he beckoned and called him to his side. So Enmaeus looked 
about and took a settle that lay by him, where the carver 
was wont to sit dividing much flesh among the wooers that 
were feasting in the house. This seat he carried and set by 
the table of Telemachus over against him, and there sat 
down himself. And the henchman took a mess and served 
it him, and wheaten bread out of the basket. 

And close behind him^ Odysseus entered the house in the 
guise of a beggar, a wretched man and an old, leaning on 
his staff, and clothed on with sorry raiment. And he sat 
down on the ashen threshold within the doorway, leaning 
against a pillar of cypress wood, which the carpenter on a 
time had deftly planed, and thereon made straight the line. 
And Telemachus called the swineherd to him, and took a 
whole loaf out of the fair basket, and of flesh so much as 
his hands could hold in their grasp, saying: 

' Take and give this to the stranger, and bid him go 
about and beg himself of all the wooers in their turn, for 
shame is an ill mate of a needy man.' 

So he spake, and the swineherd went when he heard that 
saying, and stood by and spake to him winged words: 

' Stranger, Telemachus gives thee these and bids thee go 
about and beg of all the wooers in their turn, for, he says, 
" shame ill becomes a beggar man." ' 

Then Odysseus of many counsels answered him and said: 
' King Zeus, grant me that Telemachus m.ay be happy among 
men, and may he have all his heart's desire ! ' 

Therewith he took the gift in both hands, and set it there 
before his feet on his unsightly scrip. Then he ate meat so 
long as the minstrel was singing in the halls. V/hen he had 
done supper, and the divine minstrel was ending his song, 
then the wooers raised a clamour through the halls; but 
Athene stood by Odysseus, son of Laertes, and moved him 
to go gathering morsels of bread among the wooers, and 
learn which were righteous and which unjust. Yet not even 
so was she fated to redeem one man of them from an evil 
doom. So he set out, beginning on the right, to ask of each 
man, stretching out his hand on every side, as though he 
were a beggar from of old. And they in pity gave him 



248 HOMER 

somewhat, and were amazed at the man, asking one another 
who he was and whence he came ? 

Then Melanthitis, the goatherd, spake among them: 

'Listen, ye wooers of the renowned queen, concerning this 
stranger, for verily I have seen him before. The swineherd 
truly was his guide hither, but of him I have no certain 
knowledge, whence he avows him to be born/ 

So spake he, but Antinous rebuked the swineherd, saying: 
'Oh notorious swineherd, wherefore, I pray thee, didst thou 
bring this man to the city? Have we not vagrants enough 
besides, plaguy beggars, kill-joys of the feast? Dost thou 
count it a light thing that they assemble here and devour the 
living of thy master, but thou must needs* call in this 
man too?' 

Then didst thou make answer, swineherd Eumaeus: 'An- 
tinous, no fair words are these of thine, noble though thou 
art. For who ever himself seeks out and bids to the feast 
a stranger from afar, save only one of those that are crafts- 
men of the people, a prophet or a healer of ills, or a ship- 
wright or even a godlike minstrel, v/ho can delight all with 
his song? Nay, these are the men that are v/elcome over 
all the wide earth. But none would call a beggar to the 
banquet, to waste his substance. But thou art ever hard 
above all the other wooers to the servants of Odysseus, and, 
beyond all, to m_e; but behold, I care not, so long as my 
mistress, the constant Penelope, lives in the halls and god- 
like Telemachus.' 

Then wise Telemachus answered him, saying: 'Be silent, 
answer him not, I pray thee, with many words, for Antinous 
is wont ever to chide us shamefully with bitter speech, yea, 
and urges the others thereto.' 

Therewithal he spake winged words to Antinous: 'An- 
tinous, verily thou hast a good care for me, as it were a 
father for his son, thou that biddest me drive our guest 
from the hall with a harsh command. God forbid that such 
a thing should be ! Take somewhat and give it him : lo, I 
grudge it not; nay, I charge thee to do it. And herein 
regard not my m^other, nor any of the thralls that are in the 

^TToOi, can hardly have a local meaning here. If retained, it must be 
nearly equivalent to nov, 'it seems,' with a touch of irony. Cf, i, 348. 
The V. 1. irpoTL — jrpbs is a simpler reading, but by no means certain. 



THE ODYSSEY 249 

house of divine Odysseus. Nay, but thou hast no such 
thought in thy heart, for thou art far more fain to eat thy- 
self than to give to another/ 

Then Antinous answered him and spake, saying: *Tele- 
machus, proud of speech, and unrestrained in fury, what 
word hast thou spoken? If all the wooers should vouchsafe 
him as much as I, this house would keep him far enough 
aloof even for three months' space/ 

So he spake, and seized the footstool whereon he rested 
his sleek feet as he sat at the feast, and showed it from 
beneath the table where it lay. But all the others gave 
somewhat and filled the wallet with bread and flesh; yea, 
and even now, Odysseus as he returned to the threshold, was 
like to escape scot free, making trial of the Achaeans, but he 
halted by Antinous, and spake to him, saying : 

'Friend, give me somewhat; for methinks thou art not 
the basest of the Achaeans, but the best man of them all, 
for thou art like a king. Wherefore thou shouldest give me 
a portion of bread, and thait a better than the others; so 
would I make thee renowned over all the wide earth. For I 
too, once had a house of mine own among men, a rich man 
with a wealthy house, and many a time would I give to a 
wanderer, what manner of man soever he might be, and in 
whatsoever need he came. And I had thralls out of number, 
and all else in plenty, wherewith folk live well and have a 
name for riches. But Zeus, the son of Cronos, made me 
desolate of all, — for surely it was his will, — ^who sent me 
with wandering sea-robbers to go to Egypt, a far road, to 
my ruin. And in the river Aegyptus I stayed my curved 
ships. Then verily I bade my loved companions to abide 
there by the ships, and to guard the ship, and I sent forth 
scouts to range the points of outlook. Now they gave place 
to wantonness, being the fools of their own force, and soon 
they fell to wasting the fields of the Egj^ptians, exceeding 
fair, and carried away their wives and infant children, and 
slew the men. And the cry came quickly to the city, and 
the people heard the shout and came forth at the breaking 
of the day; and all the plain was filled with footmen and 
horsemen and with the glitter of bronze. And Zeus, whose 
joy is in the thunder, sent an evil panic upon my company, 



250 HOMER 

and none durst stand and face the foe: for danger en- 
compassed us on every side. There they slew many of us 
with the edge of the sword, and others they led up with 
them alive to work for them perforce. But they gave me 
to a friend who met them, to take to Cyprus, even to 
Dmetor son of lasus, who ruled mightily over Cyprus; and 
thence, behold, am I now come hither in sore distress.* 

Then Antinous answered, and spake, saying: 'What god 
hath brought this plague hither to trouble the feast? Stand 
forth thus in the midst, away from my table, lest thou come 
soon to a bitter Egypt and a sad Cyprus; for a bold beggar 
art thou and a shameless. Thou standest by all in turn and 
recklessly they give to thee, for they hold not their hand 
nor feel any ruth in giving freely of others' goods, for that 
each man has plenty by him/ 

Then Odysseus of many counsels drew back and answered 
him : To nov/, I see thou hast not wisdom with thy beauty ! 
From out of thine own house thou wouldest not give even so 
much as a grain of salt to thy suppliant, thou who now even 
at another's board dost sit, and canst not find it in thy heart 
to take of the bread and give it me, where there is plenty 
to thy hand/ 

He spake, and Antinous was mightily angered at heart, 
and looked fiercely on him and spake winged words: 

'Henceforth, methinks, thou shalt not get thee out with 
honour from the hall, seeing thou dost even rail upon me/ 

Therewith he caught up the foot-stool and smote Odysseus 
at the base of the right shoulder by the back. But he 
stood firm as a rock, nor reeled he beneath the blow of 
Antinous, but shook his head in silence, brooding evil in the 
deep of his heart. Then he went back to the threshold, and 
sat him there, and laid down his well-filled scrip, and spake 
among the wooers: 

'Hear me, ye wooers of the renowned queen, and I will 
say what my spirit within me bids me. Verily there is 
neither pain nor grief of heart, when a man is smitten in 
battle fighting for his own possessions, whether cattle or 
white sheep. But now Antinou'" hath stricken me for my 
wretched belly's sake, a thing accursed, that works much ill 
for men. Ah, if indeed there be gods and Avengers of 



THE ODYSSEY 251 

beggars, may the issues of death come upon Antinous before 
his wedding ! * 

Then Antinous, son of Eupeithes^ answered him : ' Sit and 
eat thy meat in quiet, stranger, or get thee elsewhere, lest 
the young men drag thee by hand or foot through the house 
for thy evil words, and strip all thy flesh from off thee/ 

Even so he spake, and they were all exceeding wroth at 
his word. And on this wise would one of the lordly young 
men speak: 

' Antinous, thou didst ill to strike the hapless wanderer, 
doomed man that thou art, — if indeed there be a god in 
heaven. Yea and the gods, in the likeness of strangers 
from far countries, put on all manner of shapes, and wander 
through the cities, beholding the violence and the righteous- 
ness of men.' 

So the wooers spake, but he heeded not their words. 
Now Telemachus nursed in his heart a mighty grief at the 
smiting of Odysseus, yet he let no tear fall from his eyelids 
to the ground, but shook his head in silence, brooding evil 
in the deep of his heart. 

Now when wise Penelope heard of the stranger being 
smitten in the halls, she spake among her maidens, saying : 

*0h that Apollo, the famed archer, may so smite thee thy- 
self, Antinous ! ' 

And the house-dame, Eurynome, answered her, saying: 
' Oh that we might win fulfilment of our prayers ! ^o should 
not one of these men come to the fair-throned Dawn.' 

And wise Penelope answered her : ' Nurse, they are all 
enemies, for they all devise evil continually, but of them all 
Antinous is the most like to black fate. Some hapless 
stranger is roaming about the house, begging alms of the 
men, as his need bids him; and all the others filled his wallet 
and gave him somewhat, but Antinous smote him at the base 
of the right shoulder with a stool.' 

So she spake among her maidens, sitting in her cham.ber, 
while goodly Odysseus was at meat. Then she called to her 
the goodly swineherd and spake, saying: 

* Go thy way, goodly Eumaeus, and bid the stranger come 
hither, that I m.ay speak him a word of greeting, and ask 
him if haply he has heard tidings of Odysseus of the harder 



252 HOMER 

heart, or seen him with his eyes ; for he seems like one that 
has wandered far/ 

Then didst thou make answer, swineherd Eumaeus: 
' Queen, oh that the Achaeans would hold their peace ! so 
would he charm thy very heart, such things doth he say. 
For I kept him three nights and three days I held him in 
the steading, for to me he came first when he fled from the 
ship, yet he had not made an end of the tale of his affliction. 
Even as when a man gazes on a singer, whom the gods have 
taught to sing words of yearning joy to mortals, and they 
have a ceaseless desire to hear him, so long as he will sing; 
even so he charmed me, sitting by me in the halls. He says 
that he is a friend of Odysseus and of his house, one that 
dwells in Crete, where is the race of Minos. Thence he has 
come hither even now, with sorrow by the way, onward and 
yet onward wandering; and he vStands to it that he has heard 
tidings of Odysseus nigh at hand and yet alive in the fat 
land of the men of Thesprotia; and he is bringing many 
treasures to his home.' 

Then wise Penelope answered him, saying : * Go, call him 
hither, that he may speak to me face to face. But let these 
men sit in the doorway and take their pleasure, or even here 
in the house, since their heart is glad. For their own wealth 
lies unspoiled at hom.e, bread and sweet wine, and thereon 
do their servants feed. But they resorting to our house day 
by day sacrifice oxen and sheep and fat goats, and keep revel 
and drink the dark wine recklessly ; and, lo, our great wealth 
is wasted, for there is no man now ahve, such as Odysseus 
was, to keep ruin from the house. Oh, if Odysseus might 
come again to his own country; soon would he and his son 
avenge the violence of these men ! ' 

Even so she spake, and Telemachus sneezed loudly, and 
around the roof rang wondrously. And Penelope laughed, 
and straightway spake to Eumaeus winged words : 

* Go, call me the stranger, even so, into my presence. 
Dost thou not mark how my son has sneezed a blessing on 
all my words? Wherefore no half- wrought doom shall befal 
the wooers every one, nor shall any avoid death and the 
fates. Yet another thing will I say, and do thou ponder 
it m thy heart If I shall find that he himself speaks nought 



THE ODYSSEY 253 

but truth, I will clothe him with a mantle and a doublet, 
goodly raiment.' 

So she spake, and the swineherd departed v/hen he heard that 
saying, and stood by the stranger and spake winged words : 

' Father and stranger, wise Penelope, the mother of Telem- 
achus, is calling for thee, and her mind bids her inquire as 
touching her lord, albeit she has sorrowed much already. 
And if she shall find that thou dost speak nought but truth, 
she will clothe thee in a m.antle and a doublet, whereof thou 
standest most in need. Moreover thou shalt beg thy bread 
through the land and shalt fill thy belly, and whosoever will, 
shall give to thee.' 

Then the steadfast goodly Ckiysseus answered him, saying : 
* Eumaeus, soon would I tell all the truth to the daughter of 
Icarius, wise Penelope, for well I know his story, and we 
have borne our travail together. But I tremble before the 
throng of the froward wooers, whose outrage and violence 
reach even to the iron heaven. For even now, as I was 
going through the house, when this man struck and pained 
me sore, and that for no ill deed, neither Telemachus nor 
any other kept off the blow. Wherefore now, bid Penelope 
tarry in the chambers, for all her eagerness, till the going 
down of the sun, and then let her ask me concerning her 
lord, as touching the day of his returning, and let her give 
me a seat yet nearer to the fire, for behold, I have sorry 
raiment, and thou knowest it thyself, since I made my 
supplication first to thee.' 

Even so he spake, and the swineherd departed when he 
heard that saying. And as he crossed the threshold Penel- 
ope spake to him: 

' Thou bringest him not, Eumaeus : what means the 
wanderer hereby? Can it be that he fears some one out of 
measure, or is he even ashamed of tarrying in the house? 
A shamefaced man makes a bad beggar.' 

Then didst thou make answer, swineherd Eumaeus : * He 
speaks aright, and but as another would deem, in that he 
shuns the outrage of overweening men. Rather would he 
have thee wait till the going down of the sum Yea, and it 
is far meeter for thyself, O queen, to utter thy word to 
the stranger alone, and to listen to his speech.* 



254 HOMER 

Then the wise Penelope answered: 'Not witless is the 
stranger; even as he deems, so it well may be^ For there 
are no mortal men, methinks, so wanton as these, and none 
that devise such infatuate deeds/ 

So she spake, and the goodly swineherd departed into 
the throng of the wooers, when he had showed her all his 
message. And straightway he spake to Telemachus winged 
words, holding his head close to him, that the others might 
not hear: 

* Friend, I am going hence to look after thy swine and 
the things of the farm, thy livelihood and mine; but do 
thou take charge of all that is here. Yet first look to 
thyself and take heed that no evil comes nigh thee, for 
many of the Achaeans have ill will against us, whom may 
Zeus confound before their mischief falls on us ! * 

And wise Telemachus answered him, and said : * Even 
so shall it be, father; and do thou get thee on thy way, 
when thou hast supped. And in the morning come again, 
and bring fair victims for sacrifice. And all these matters 
will be a care to me and to the deathless gods.' 

Thus he spake, and the other sat dov/n again on the 
polished settle; and when he had satisfied his heart with meat 
and drink, he went on his way to the svnne, leaving the courts 
and the hall full of f casters; and they were making merry 
with dance and song, for already it was close on eventide. 

^ Placiiig a colon at ^elvos, and reading &? wep iv eiij* (c£. sis* 312). 



/ 



BOOK XYIII 

The fighting at fists of Odysseus with Irus. His admonitions ta 
Amphinomus. Penelope appears before the wooers, and draws 
presents from them. 

THEN up came a common beggar, who was wont to 
beg through the town of Ithaca, one that was known 
among all men for ravening greed, for his endless 
eating and drinking, yet he had no force or might, though 
he was bulky enough to look on. Arnaeus was his name, 
for so had his good mother given it him at his birth, but all 
the young men called him Irus, because he ran on errands, 
whensoever any might bid him. So now he came, and 
would have driven Odysseus from his own house, and began 
reviling him, and spake winged words : 

'Get thee hence, old man, from the doorv^^ay, lest thou 
be even haled out soon by the foot. Seest thou not that 
all are now giving me the wink, and bidding me drag thee 
forth? Nevertheless, I feel shame of the task. Nay get 
thee up, lest our quarrel soon pass even to blows.' 

Then Odysseus of many counsels looked fiercely on him, 
and spake saying : * Sir, neither in deed nor word do I harm 
thee, nor do I grudge that any should give to thee, yea 
though it were a good handful. But this threshold will hold 
us both, and thou hast no need to be jealous for the sake 
of other men's goods. Thou seemest to me to be a wan- 
derer, even as I am, and the gods it is that are like to give 
us gain. Only provoke me not overmatch to buffeting, lest 
thou anger me, and old though I be I defile thy breast and 
lips with blood. Thereby should I have the greater quiet 
to-morrow, for methinks that thou shalt never again come 
to the hall of Odysseus, son of Laertes.' 

Then the beggar Irus spake unto him in anger: *Lo 
now, how trippingly and like an old cinder-wife this glutton 
speaks, on whom I will work my evil will, and smite him 

255 



256 HOMER 

right and left, and drive all the teeth from his jaws to 
the ground, like the tusks of a swine that spoils the corn. 
Gird thyself now, that even these men all may know our 
mettle in fight. Na)^, how shouldst thou do battle with a 
younger man than thou?* 

Thus did they whet each the other*s rage right manfully 
before the lofty doors upon the pohshed threshold. And 
the mighty prince Antinous heard the twain, and sweetly he 
laughed out, and spake among the wooers: 

* Friends, never before has there been such a thing; such 
goodly game has a god brought to this house. The stranger 
yonder and Irus are bidding each other to buffets. Quick, 
let us match them one against the other.' 

Then all at the word leaped up laughing, and gathered 
round the ragged beggars, and Antinous, son of Eupeithes, 
spake among them saying : * Hear me, ye lordly wooers, 
and I will say somewhat. Here are goats' bellies lying at 
the fire, that we laid by at supper-time and filled with fat 
and blood. Now whichsoever of the twain wins, and shows 
himself the better man, let him stand up and take his choice 
of these puddings. And further, he shall always eat at our 
feasts, nor will we suffer any other beggar to come among 
us and ask for alms.' 

So spake Antinous, and the saying pleased them well. 
Then Odysseus of many counsels spake among them^ 
craftily : 

' Friends, an old man and foredone with travail may in 
no wise fight with a younger. But my belly's call is urgent 
on me, that evil-worker, to the end that I may be subdued 
with stripes. But come now, swear me all of you a strong 
oath, so that none, for the sake of shewing a favour to Irus, 
may strike me a foul blow with heavy hand and subdue me 
fey violence to my foe/ 

So he spake, and they all swore not to strike him, as he 
bade them. Now when they had sworn and done that oath, 
the mighty prince Telemachus once more spake among 
them: 

' Stranger, if thy heart and lordly spirit urge thee to rid 
thee of this fellow, then fear not any other of the 
AchaeanSp for whoso strikes thee shall have to fight svith 



THE ODYSSEY ZSJ 

many. Thy host am I, and the princes consent with me, 
Antinous and Eurymachus, men of wisdom both/ 

So spake he and they all consented thereto. Then Odys- 
seus girt his rags about his loins, and let his thighs be seen, 
goodly and great, and his broad shoulders and breast and 
mighty arms were manifest. And Athene came nigh and 
made greater the limbs of the shepherd of the people. Then 
the wooers were exceedingly amazed, and thus would one 
speak looking to his neighbour : 

' Right soon will Irus, un-Irused, have a bane of his own 
bringing, such a thigh as that old man shows from out his 
rags ! ' 

So they spake, and the miind of Irus was pitifully stirred; 
but even so the servants girded him and led him out per- 
force in great fear, his flesh trembling on his limbs. Then 
Antinous chid him, and spake and hailed him : 

* Thou lubber, better for thee that thou wert not now, 
nor ever hadst been born, if indeed thou tremblest before 
this man, and art so terribly afraid; an old man too he is, 
and foredone with the travail that is come upon him. But I 
will tell thee plainly, and it -shall surely be accomplished. If 
this man prevail against thee and prove thy master, I will 
cast thee into a black ship, and send thee to the mainland 
to Echetus the king, the maimer of all mankind, who will 
cut off thy nose and ears with the pitiless steel and draw out 
thy vitals and give them raw to dogs to rend.' 

So he spake, and yet greater trembling gat hold of the 
limbs of Irus, and they led him into the ring, and the twain 
put up their hands. Then the steadfast goodly Odysseus 
mused in himself whether he should smite him in such wise 
that his life should leave his body, even there where he fell, 
or whether he should strike him lightly, and stretch him 
on the earth. And as he thought thereon, this seemed to 
him the better way, to strike lightly, that the Achaeans 
might not take note of him, who he was. Then the twain put 
up their hands, and Irus struck at the right shoulder, but the 
other smote him on his neck beneath the ear, and crushed in 
the bones, and straightway the red blood gushed up through 
his mouth, and with a moan he fell in the dust, and drave 
together his teeth as he kicked the ground. But the proud 

r— Vol, 22 



258 HOMER 

wooers threw up their hands, and died outright for laugh- 
ter. Then Odysseus seized him by the foot, and dragged 
him forth through the doorway, till he came to the court- 
yard and the gates of the gallery, and he set him down and 
rested him against the courtyard v/all, and put his staff in 
his hands, and uttering his voice spake to him winged 
words : 

' Sit thou there now, and scare off swine and dogs, and let 
not such an one as thou be lord over strangers and beggars, 
pitiful as thou art, lest haply some worse thing befal thee/ 

Thus he spake, and cast about his shoulders his mean 
scrip all tattered, and the cord therewith to hang it, and he 
gat him back to the threshold, and sat him down there 
again. Now the wooers went within laughing sweetly, and 
greeted him, saying: 

* May Zeus, stranger, and all the other deathless gods 
give thee thy dearest wish, even all thy heart's desire, seeing 
that thou hast made that insatiate one to cease from his 
begging in the land! Soon will we take him over to the 
mainland, to Echetus the king, the m.aim.er of all mankind.' 

So they spake, and goodly Odysseus rejoiced in the omen 
of the words. And Antinous set by him the great pudding, 
stuffed with fat and blood, and Amphinomus took up two 
loaves from the basket, and set them by him and pledged 
him in a golden cup, and spake saying: 

' Father and stranger, hail ! may happiness be thine in 
the tim^e to come, but as now, thou art fast holden in many 
sorrows.' 

And Odysseus of many counsels answered him saying: 
* Amphinomus, verily thou seemest to me a prudent man 
enough,; for such too was the father of whom thou art 
sprung, for I have heard the fair fame of him, how that 
Nisus of Dulichium was a good man and a rich, and his 
son they say thou art, and thou seemest a man of under- 
standing. Wherefore I will tell thee, and do thou mark 
and listen to me. Nought feebler doth the earth nurture 
than man, of all the creatures that breathe and move upon 
the face of the earth. Lo, he thinks that he shall never 
suffer evil in time to come, while the gods give him happi- 
ness, and his limbs move lightly. But when again the 



i 



THE ODYSSEY 259 

blessed gods have wrought for him sorrow, even so he bears 
it, as he must, with a steadfast heart. For the spirit of 
men upon the earth is even as their day, that comes upon 
them from the father of gods and men. Yea, and I too 
once was like to have been prosperous among men, but 
many an infatuate deed I did, giving place to mine own 
hardihood and strength, and trusting to my father and my 
brethren. Wherefore let no man for ever be lawless any 
more, but keep quietly the gifts of the gods, whatsoever they 
may give. Such infatuate deeds do I see the wooers devis- 
ing, as they waste the wealth, and hold in no regard the 
wife of a man, who, methinks, will not much longer be far 
from his friends and his own land; nay he is very near. 
But for thee, may some god withdraw thee hence to thy 
home, and mayst thou not meet him in the day when he 
returns to his own dear country ! For not without blood, 
as I deem, will thr*-y be sundered, the wooers and Odysseus, 
when once he shall have come beneath his own roof/ 

Thus he spake, and poured an offering and then drank of 
the honey-sweet wine, and again set the cup in the hands 
of the arrayer of the people. But the other went back 
through the hall, sad at heart and bowing his head; for 
verily -his soul boded evil. Yet even so he avoided not his 
fate, for Athene had bound him likewise to be slain out- 
right at the hands and by the spear of Telemachus. So he 
sat down again on the high seat whence he had arisen. 

Now the goddess, grey-eyed Athene, put it into the heart 
of the daughter of Icarius, wise Penelope, to show herself 
to the wooers, that she might make their heart all flutter 
with hope, and that she might win yet more worship from 
her lord and her son than heretofore. So she laughed an idle 
laugh, and spake to the nurse, and hailed her, saying: 

* Eurynome, my heart yearns, though before I had no such 
desire, to show myself to the wooers, hateful as they are. I 
would also say a word to miy son, tliat will be for his weal, 
namely, that he should not for ever consort with the proud 
wooers, who speak friendly with their lips, but imagine evil 
in the latter end.' 

Then the housewife, Eurynome, spake to her saying: 
*Yea my child, all this thou hast spoken as is meet. Go 



260 HOMER 

then, and declare thy word to thy son and hide it not, but 
first wash thee and anoint thy face, and go not as thou art 
with thy cheeks all stained with tears. Go, for it is little 
good to sorrow always, and never cease. And lo, thy son 
is now of an age to hear thee, he whom thou hast above all 
things prayed the gods that thou mightest see with a beard 
upon his chin.' 

Then wise Penelope answered her, saying : * Eurynome, 
speak not thus comfortably to me, for all thy love, bidding me 
to wash and be anointed with ointment. For the gods that 
keep Olympus destroyed my bloom, since the day that he 
departed in the hollow ships. But bid Autonoe and Hip- 
podameia come to me, to stand by my side in the halls. 
Alone I will not go among men, for I am ashamed.'' 

So she spake, and the old woman passed through the 
chamber to tell the maidens, and hasten their coming. 

Thereon the goddess, grey-eyed Athene, had another 
thought. She shed a sweet slumber over the daughter of 
Icarius, who sank back in sleep, and all her joints were 
loosened as she lay in the chair, and the fair goddess the 
while was giving her gifts immortal, that all the Achaeans 
might marvel at her. Her fair face first she steeped with 
beauty imperishable, such as that wherevv^ith the crowned 
Cytherea is anointed, when she goes to the lovely dances of 
the Graces. And she made her taller and greater to behold, 
and made her whiter than new-sawn ivory. Now v/hen she 
had wrought thus, that fair goddess departed, and the white- 
armed handmaidens came forth from the chamber and drew 
nigh with a sound of voices. Then sweet sleep left hold of 
Penelope, and she rubbed her cheeks with her hands, and 
said: 

* Surely soft slumber wrapped me round, most wretched 
though I be. Oh ! that pure Artemis would give m.e so 
soft a death even now, that I might no more waste my life 
in sorrow of heart, and longing for the manifold excellence 
of my dear lord, for that he was foremost of the Achaeans.' 

With this word she went down from the shining upper 
chamber, not alone, for two handmaidens likewise bare her 
company. But when the fair lady had now come to the 
wooers, she stood by the pillar of the well-builded roof, 



THE ODYSSEY 261 

holding her glistening tire before her face, and on either 
side of her stood a faithful handmaid. And straightway the 
knees of the wooers were loosened, and their hearts were 
enchanted with love, and each one uttered a prayer that he 
might be her bed-fellow. But she spake to Telemachus, 
her dear son: 

* Telemachus, thy mind and thy thoughts are no longer 
stable as they were. While thou wast still a child, thou 
hadst a yet quicker and more crafty wit, but now that thou 
art great of growth, and art come to the measure of man- 
hood, and a stranger looking to thy stature and thy beauty 
might say that thou must be some rich man's son, thy mind 
and thy thoughts are no longer right as of old. For lo, 
what manner of deed has been done in these halls, in that 
thou has suffered thy guest to be thus shamefully dealt 
with ! How would it be now, if the stranger sitting thus in 
our house, were to come to some harm all through this evil 
handling? Shame and disgrace would be thine henceforth 
among men.* 

Then wise Telemachus answered her : ' Mother mine, as 
to this matter I count it no blame that thou art angered. 
Yet have I knowledge and understanding of each thing, of 
the good and of the evil, but heretofore I was a child. How- 
belt I cannot devise all things according to wisdom, for 
these men in their evil counsel drive me from my wits, on 
this side and on that, and there is none to aid me. How- 
soever this battle between Irus and the stranger did not fall 
out as the wooers would have had it, but the stranger proved 
the better man. Would to Father Zeus and Athene and 
Apollo, that the wooers in our halls were even now thus 
vanquished, and wagging their heads, some in the court, 
and some within the house, and that the limbs of each man 
were loosened in such fashion as Irus yonder sits now, by 
the courtyard gates wagging his head, like a drunken man, 
and cannot stand upright on his feet, nor yet get him 
home to his own place, seeing that his limbs are loosened ! * 

Thus they spake one to another. But Eurymachus spake 
to Penelope, saying: 

* Daughter of Icarius, wise Penelope, if all the Achaeans in 
lasian Argos could behold thee, even a greater press of 



262 HOMER 

wooers would feast in your halls from to-morrow's dawn, 
since thou dost surpass all women in beauty and stature, and 
within in wisdom of mind.' 

Then wise Penelope answered him : ' Eurymachus, surely 
my excellence, both of face and form, the gods destroyed 
in the day when the Argives embarked for Ilios, and with 
them went my lord Odysseus. If but he might come and 
watch over this my life, greater thus would be my fame 
and fairer! But now am I in sorrow; such a host of ills 
some god has sent against me. Ah, well do I remember, 
when he set forth and left his own country, how he took me 
hy the right hand at the wrist and spake, saying : 

* "Lady, methinks that all the goodly-greaved Achaeans will 
not win a safe return from Troy; for the Trojans too, 
they say, are good men at arms, as spearsmen, and bowmen, 
and drivers of fleet horses, such as ever most swiftly deter- 
mine the great strife of equal battle. Wherefore I know 
not if the gods will suffer me to return or whether I shall be 
cut off there in Troy; so do thou have a care for all these 
things. Be mindful of my father and my mother in the 
halls, even as now thou art, or yet more than now, while I 
am far away. But when thou seest thy son a bearded man, 
marry whom thou wilt and leave thine own house." 

* Even so did he speak, and now all these things have an 
end. The night shall com.e when a hateful m.arriage shall 
find me out, me m.ost luckless, whose good hap Zeus has 
taken away. But furthermore this sore trouble has come on 
my heart and soul; for this was not the manner of wooers in 
time past. Whoso wish to woo a good lady and the daughter 
of a rich man, and vie one with another, themselves bring 
with them oxen of their own and goodly flocks, a banquet for 
the friends of the bride, and they give the lady splendid gifts, 
but do not devour another's livelihood without atonement.' 

Thus she spake, and the steadfast goodly Odysseus rejoiced 
because she drew from them gifts, and beguiled their souls 
with soothing words, while her heart was set on other things. 

Then Antinous, son of Eupeithes, answered her again; 
* Daughter of Icarius, wise Penelope, the gifts which any of 
the Achaeans may choose to bring hither, do thou take; for 
it were ill to withhold a gift But we for our part will 



THE ODYSSEY 263 

neither go to our lands nor otherwhere, before thou art wed- 
ded to the best man of the Achaeans/ 

So spake Antinous, and the saying pleased them well, and 
each man sent a henchman to bring his gifts. For Antinous 
his henchman bare a broidered robe, great and very fair, 
wherein were golden brooches, twelve in all, fitted with well 
bent clasps. And the henchman straightway bare Euryma- 
chus a golden chain of curious work, strung with amber 
beads, shining like the sun. And his squires bare for Eury- 
damas a pair of ear-rings, with three drops v/ell wrought, and 
much grace shone from them. And out of the house of Pei- 
sander the prince, the son of Polyctor, the squire brought a 
necklet, a very lovely jewel. And likewise the Achaeans 
brought each one some other beautiful gift. 

Then the fair lady went aloft to her upper chamber, and 
her attendant maidens bare for her the lovely gifts, while the 
wooers turned to dancing and the delight of song, and 
therein took their pleasure, and awaited the comJng of even- 
tide. And dark evening came on them at their pastime. 
Anon they set up three braziers in the halls, to give them 
light; and on these they laid firewood all around, faggots 
seasoned long since and sere, and new split with the axe. 
And midway by the braziers they placed torches, and the 
maids of Odysseus, of the hardy heart, held up the lights in 
turn. Then the prince Odysseus of many counsels himself 
spake among them saying: 

* Ye maidens of Odysseus, the lord so long afar, get ye 
into the chambers where the honoured queen abides, and 
twist the yarn at her side, and gladden her heart as ye sit 
in the chamber, or card the wools with your hands; but I 
will minister light to all these that are here. For even if 
they are minded to wait the throned Dawn, they shall not 
outstay me, so long enduring am L* 

So he spake, but they laughed and looked one at the other. 
And the fair Melantho chid him shamefully, Melantho that 
Dolius begat, but Penelope reared, and entreated her tenderly 
as she had been her own child, and gave her playthings to 
her heart's desire. Yet, for all that, sorrow for Penelope 
touched not her heart, but she loved Eurymachus and was 
his paramour. Now she chid Odysseus with railing words : 



264 HOMER 

* Wretched guest, surely thou art some brain-struck man, 
seeing that thou dost not choose to go and sleep at a 
smithy, or at some place of common resort, but here thou 
pratest much and boldly among many lords and hast no fear at 
heart. Verily wine has got about thy wits, or perchance 
thou art always of this mind, and so thou dost babble idly. 
Art thou beside thyself for joy, because thou hast beaten the 
beggar Irus ? Take heed lest a better man than Irus rise up 
presently against thee, to lay his mighty hands about thy 
head and bedabble thee with blood, and send thee hence 
from the house.' 

Then Odysseus of many counsels looked fiercely on her, 
and said : ' Yea, straight will I go yonder and tell Telem- 
achus hereof, thou shameless thing, for this thy speech, that 
forthwith he may cut thee limb from limb/ 

So he spake, and with his saying scared away the women, 
who fled through the hall, and the knees of each were 
loosened for fear, for they deemed that his words were true. 
But Odysseus took his stand by the burning braziers, tending 
the lights, and gazed on all the men; but far other matters 
he pondered in his heart, things not to be unfulfilled. 

Now Athene would in no wise suffer the lordly wooers to 
abstain from biting scorn, that the pain might sink yet the 
deeper into the heart of Odysseus, son of Laertes. So Eurym- 
achus, son of Polybus, began to speak among them, girding 
at Odysseus, and so^ made mirth for his friends : 

* Hear me ye wooers of the queen renowned, that I may 
say that which my spirit within me bids me. Not without 
the gods' will has this man come to the house of Odysseus ; 
methinks at least that the torchlight flares forth from^ that 
head of his, for there are no hairs on it, nay never so thin.' 

He spake and withal addressed Odysseus, waster of cities : 
' Stranger, wouldest thou indeed be my hireling, if I would 
take thee for my man, at an upland farm, and thy wages 
shall be assured thee, and there shalt thou gather stones for 
walls and plant tall trees? There would I provide thee 
bread continual, and clothe thee with raiment, and give thee 
shoes for thy feet. Howbeit, since thou art practised only 
in evil, thou wilt not care to go to the labours of the field, 

^ Accepting the conjecture taK, = Kora, for the MSS. koX, 



THE ODYSSEY 265 

but wilt choose rather to go touting through the land, that 
thou mayst have wherewithal to feed thine insatiate belly/ 

Then Odysseus of many counsels answered him and said: 
* Eurymachus, would that there might be a trial of labour be- 
tween us twain, in the season of springs when the long days 
begin ! In the deep grass might it be, and I should have a 
crooked scythe, and thou another like it, that we might try 
each the other in the matter of labour, fasting till late even- 
tide, and grass there should be in plenty. Or -would again, 
that there were oxen to drive, the best there may be, large and 
tawny, both well filled with fodder, of equal age and force 
to bear the yoke and of strength untiring ! And it should be 
a field of four ploughgates, and the clod should yield before 
the ploughshare. Then shouldest thou see me, whether or no 
I would cut a clean furrow unbroken before me. Or would 
that this very day Cronion might waken war v/hence he 
Vv^ould, and that I had a shield and two spears, and a helmet 
all of bronze, close fitting on my temples ! Then shouldest 
thou see me mingling in the forefront of the battle, nor speak 
and taunt me with this my belly. Nay, thou art exceeding 
wanton and thy heart is hard, and thou thinkest thyself 
some great one and mighty, because thou consortest with 
few men and feeble. Ah, if Odysseus might but return and 
come to his own country, right soon would yonder doors 
full wide as they are^ prove all too strait for thee in thy flight 
through the doorway ! ' 

Thus he spake, and Eurymachus v/axed yet the more 
wroth at heart, and looking fiercely on him spake to him 
v^anged w^ords : 

*Ah, wretch that thou art, right soon will I work thee 
mischief, so boldly thou pratest among many lords, and hast 
no fear at heart. Verily wine has got about thy wits, or per- 
chance thou art always of this mind, and so thou dost babble 
idly. Art thou beside thyself for joy, because thou hast 
beaten the beggar Irus ? ' 

Therewith he caught up a footstool, but Odysseus sat him 
down at the knees of Amphinomus of Dulichium, in dread of 
Eurymachus. And Eurymachus cast and smote the cup- 
bearer on the right hand, and the ladle cup dropped to the 
ground with a clang, while the young man groaned and fell 



265 HOMER 

backwards in the dust. Then the wooers clamoured through 
the shadowy halls, and thus one would say looking to his 
neighbour : 

' Would that our wandering guest had perished otherwhere, 
or ever he came hither; so should he never have made all 
this tumult in our midst ! But now we are all at strife about 
beggars, and there will be no more joy of the good feast, for 
worse things have their way.' 

Then the mighty prince Telemachus spake among them: 

* Sirs, ye are mad ; now doth your mood betray that ye 
have eaten and drunken; some one of the gods is surely 
moving you. Nay, now that ye have feasted well, go home 
and lay you to rest, since your spirit so bids ; for as for me, 
I drive no man hence.' 

Thus he spake, and they all bit their lips and marvelled at 
Telemachus, in that he spake boldly. Then Amphinomus 
made harangue, and spake among them, Amphinomus, the 
famous son of Nisus the prince, the son of Aretias: 

* Friends, when a righteous word has been spoken, none 
surely would rebuke another v/ith hard speech and be angry. 
Misuse ye not this stranger, neither any of the thralls that 
are in the house of godlike Odysseus. But come, let the 
wine-bearer pour for libation into each cup in turn, that after 
the drink-offering we may get us home to bed. But the 
stranger let us leave in the halls of Odysseus for a charge 
to Telemachus: for to his home has he come.* 

Thus he spake, and his word was well-pleasing to them 
all. Then the lord Mulius mixed for them the bowl, the 
henchman out o£ Dulichium, who was squire of Amphinomus. 
And he stood by all and served it to them in their turn; 
and they poured forth before the blessed gods, and drank 
the honey-sweet wine. Now when they had poured forth and 
had drunken to their hearts' content, they departed to He 
down, each one to his ov/n house. 




BOOK XIX 

Telemachus removes the arms out of the hall. Odysseus d!s« 
courseth with Penelope. And is known by his nurse, but concealed. 
And the hunting of the boar upon that occasion related. 

'OW the goodly Odysseus was left behind in the 
hall, devising with Athene's aid the slaying of 
the wooers, and straightway he spake winged words 
to Telemachus: 

' Telemachus, we must needs lay by the weapons of war 
within, every one; and when the wooers m^iss them and ask 
thee concerning them, thou shalt beguile them with soft 
words, saying: 

* Out of the sm.oke I laid them by, since they were no 
longer like those that Odysseus left behind him of old, when 
he went to Troy, but they are wholly marred, so mightily hath 
passed upon them the vapour of fire. Moreover some god 
hath put into my heart this other and greater care, that per- 
chance when ye are heated with wine, ye set a quarrel be- 
tween you and wound one the other, and thereby sham.e the 
feast and the wooing; for iron of itself draws a man thereto.' 

Thus he spake, and Telem.achus hearkened to his dear 
father, and called forth to him the nurse Eurycleia and 
spake to her, saying: 

* Nurse, come now I pray thee, shut up the women ia 
their chambers till I shall have laid by in the armoury the 
goodly weapons of my father, which all uncared for the 
smoke dims in the hall, since my father went hence, and 
I was still but a child. Now I wish to lay them by where 
the vapour of the fire will not reach them.' 

Then the good nurse Eurycleia answered him, saying: 
' Ah, my child, if ever thou wouldest but take careful thought 
in such wise as to mind the house, and guard all this wealth! 
But come, who shall fetch the light and bear it, if thou 

267 



268 HOMER 

hast thy way, since thou wouldest not that the maidens, who 
might have given light, should go before thee ? ' 

Then wise Telemachus made answer to her : * This stranger 
here, for I will keep no man in idleness who eats of my 
bread, even if he have come from afar.' 

Thus he spake, and wingless her speech remained, and 
she closed the doors of the fair-lying chambers. Then 
they twain sprang up, Odysseus and his renowned son, and 
set to carry within the helmets and the bossy shields, and 
the sharp-pointed spears; and before them Pallas Athene 
bare a golden cresset and cast a most lovely light. Thereon 
Telemachus spake to his father suddenly: 

' Father, surely a great marvel is this that I behold with 
mine eyes; meseems, at least, that the walls of the hall and 
the fair main-beams of the roof and the cross-beams of pine, 
and the .pillars that run aloft, are bright as it were with 
flaming fire. Verily some god is within, of those that hold 
the wide heaven.* 

And Odysseus of many counsels answered him and said: 
* Hold thy peace and keep thy thoughts in check and ask not 
hereof. Lo, this is the wont of the gods that hold Olympus. 
But do thou go and lay thee down, and I will abide here, 
that I may yet further provoke the maids and thy m.other to 
answer; and she in her sorrow will ask me concerning each 
thing, one by one/ 

So he spake, and Telemachus passed out through the 
hall to his chamber to lie down, by the light of the flaming 
torches, even to the chamber where of old he took his rest, 
when sweet sleep came over him. There now too he lay 
down and awaited the bright Dawn. But goodly Odysseus 
was left behind in the hall, devising with Athene's aid the 
slaying of the wooers. 

Now forth from her chamber came the wise Penelope, 
like Artemis or golden Aphrodite, and they set a chair for 
her hard by before the fire, where she was wont to sit, a 
chair well-wrought and inlaid with ivory and silver, which 
on a time the craftsman Icmalius had fashioned, and had 
joined thereto a footstool, that was part of the chair, whereon 
a great fleece was used to be laid. Here then, the wise Pe- 
nelope sat her down, and next came }vhite-armed handmaids 



THE ODYSSEY 269 

from the women's ellambei:^ and began to take away the 
many fragments of food, and the tables and the cups whence 
the proud lords had been drinking, and they raked out the 
fire from the braziers on to the floor, and piled many fresh 
logs upon them, to give light and warmth. 

Then Melantho began to revile Odysseus yet a second 
time, saying : * Stranger, wilt thou still be a plague to us 
here, circling round the house in the night, and spying the 
women? Nay, get thee forth, thou wretched thing, and be 
thankful for thy supper, or straightway shalt thou even be 
smitten with a torch and so fare out of the doors.' 

Then Odysseus of many counsels looked fiercely on her, 
and said : * Good woman, what possesses thee to assail me 
thus out of an angry heart? Is it because I go filthy and 
am clothed about in sorry raiment, and beg through the land, 
for necessity is laid on me? This is the manner of beggars 
and of wandering men. For I too once had a house of mine 
own among men, a rich man with a wealthy house, and 
many a time would I give to a wanderer, what manner of 
man soever he might be, and in whatsoever need he came. 
And I had countless thralls, and all else in plenty, whereby 
folk live well and have a name for riches. But Zeus, the 
son of Cronos, made me desolate of all, for surely it was his 
will. Wherefore, woman, see lest some day thou too lose all 
thy fine shov/ wherein thou now excellest among the hand- 
maids, as well may chance, if thy mistress be provoked to 
anger with thee, or if Odysseus come home, for there is yet 
a place for hope. And even if he hath perished as ye deem, 
and is never more to return, yet by Apollo's grace he hath a 
son like him, Telemachus, and none of the women works 
wantonness in his halls without his knowledge, for he is no 
longer of an age not to mark it.* 

Thus he spake^, and the wise Penelope heard him, and 
rebuked the handmaid, and spake and hailed her: 

* Thou reckless thing and unabashed, be sure thy great sin 
IS not hidden from me, and thy blood shall be on thine own 
head for the same! For thou knewest right well, in that 
thou hadst heard it from my lips, how that I was minded 
to ask the stranger in my halls for tidings of my; lord; for 
I am grievously afflicted,' 



t7© HOMER 

Therewith she spaka likewise to the housedame, Etirynome, 
saying : 

*Eurynome, bring hither a settle with a fleece thereon, 
that the stranger may sit and speak with me and hear my 
words, for I would ask him all his story.' 

So she spake, and the nurse made haste and brought a 
polished settle, and cast a fleece thereon; and then the 
steadfast goodly Odysseus sat him down there, and the wise 
Penelope spake first, saying: 

* Stranger, I will make bold first to ask thee this : who 
art thou of the sons of men, and whence? Where is thy 
city, and where are they that begat thee?' 

And Odysseus of many counsels answered her and said: 
' Lady, no one of mortal men in the wide world could find 
fault with thee, for lo, thy fame goes up to the wide heaven, 
as doth the fame of a blameless king, one that fears the 
gods and reigns among many men and mighty, maintaining 
right, and the black earth bears wheat and barley, and the 
trees are laden with fruit, and the sheep bring forth and fail 
not, and the sea gives store of fish, and all out of his good 
guidance, and the people prosper under him. Wherefore do 
thou ask me now in thy house all else that thou wilt, but 
inquire not concerning my race and mine own country, lest 
as I think thereupon thou fill my heart the more with pains, 
for I am a man of many sorrows. Moreover it beseems 
me not to sit weeping and wailing in another's house, for 
it is little good to mourn always without ceasing, lest per- 
chance one of the maidens, or even thyself, be angry with 
me and say that I swim in tears, as one that is heavy 
with wine.' 

Then wise Penelope answered him, and said : * Stranger, 
surely my excellence, both of face and form, the gods de- 
stroyed, in the day when the Argives embarked for Ilios, and 
with them went my lord Odysseus. If but he might come 
and watch over this my life, greater and fairer thus would 
be my fame! But now am I in sorrow, such a host o£ 
ills some god has sent against me. For all the noblest that 
are princes in the isles, in Dulichium and Same and wooded 
Zacynthus, and they that dwell around even in clear-seen 
Ithaca^ these are wooing me against my will, and devour- 



THE ODYSSEY 271 

ing the house. Wherefore I take no heed of strangers, 
nor suppliants, nor at all of heralds, the craftsmen of the 
people. But I waste my heart away in longing for Odysseus ; 
so they speed on my marriage and I weave a web of wiles. 
First some god put it into my heart to set up a great v/eb in 
the halls, and thereat to weave a robe fine of woof and very 
wide: and anon I spake among them, saying: "Ye princety 
youths, my wooers, now that goodly Odysseus is dead, do ye 
abide patiently, how eager soever to speed on this marriage 
of mine, till I finish the robe. I would not that the threads 
perish to no avail, even this shroud for the hero Laertes, 
against the day when the ruinous doom shall bring him low, 
of death that lays men at their length. So shall none of the 
Achaean women in the land count it blame in me, as well 
might be, were he to lie without a winding sheet, a man that 
had gotten great possessions." 

*So spake I, and their high hearts consented thereto. So 
then in the daytime I would weave the mighty web, and in 
the night unravel the same, when I had let place the torches 
by me. Thus for the space of three years I hid the thing 
by craft and beguiled the minds of the Achaeans. But when 
the fourth year arrived, and the seasons came round as the 
months waned, and many days were accomplished, then it 
v/as that by help of the handmaids, shameless things and 
reckless, the v/ooers came and trapped m.e, and chid me 
loudly. Thus did I finish the web by no will of mine, for 
so I must. And now I can neither escape the marriage nor 
devise any further counsel, and m.y parents are instant with 
me to m.arry, and my son chafes that these men devour his 
livelihood, as he takes note of all; for by this time he has 
come to mxan's estate, and is full able to care for a house- 
hold, for one to which Zeus vouchsafes honour. But even 
so tell me of thine own stock, whence thou art, for thou 
art not sprung of oak or rock, v/hereof old tales tell.* 
And Odysseus of many counsels answered her and said : 
*0 wife revered of Odysseus, son of Laertes, wilt thou 
never have done asking me about mine own race? Nay, 
but I will tell thee; yet surely thou wilt give m.e over to 
sorrows yet more than those wherein I am holden, for so it- 
ever is when a man has been afar from his own country, sc 



272 HOMER 

long as now I am, wandering in sore pain to many cities of 
mortals. Yet even so I will tell thee what thou askest and 
inquirest. There is a land called Crete in the midst of the 
wine-dark sea, a fair land and a rich, begirt with water, and 
therein are many men innumerable, and ninety cities. And 
all have not the same speech, but there is confusion of 
tongues; there dwell Achaeans and there too Cretans of 
Crete, high of heart, and Cydonians there and Dorians of 
waving plumes and goodly Pelasgians. And among these 
cities is the mighty city Cnosus, wherein Minos when he 
was nine years old began to rule, he who held converse 
with great Zeus, and was the father of my father, even of 
Deucalion, high of heart. Now Deucalion begat me and 
Idomeneus the prince. Howbeit, he had gone in his beaked 
ships up into Ilios, with tho son of Atreus; but my famxd 
name is Aethon, being the younger of the twain and he was 
the first born and the better man. There I saw Odysseus, 
and gave him guest-gifts, for the might of the wind bare 
him too to Crete, as he was making for Troy land, and had 
driven him wandering past Malea. So he stayed his ships in 
Amnisus, whereby is the cave of Eilithyia, in havens hard 
to win, and scarce he escaped the tempest. Anon he came 
up to the city and asked for Idomeneus, saying that he was 
his friend and held by him in love and honour. But it was 
now the tenth or the eleventh dawn since Idomeneus had 
gone in his beaked ships up into Ilios. Then I led him to 
the house, and gave him good entertainment with all loving- 
kindness out of the plenty in my house, and for him and 
for the rest of his company, that went with him, I gathered 
and gave barley meal and dark wine out of the public store, 
and oxen to sacrifice to his heart's desire. There the goodly 
Achaeans abode twelve days, for the strong North Wind 
penned them there, and suffered them not to stay upon the 
coast, for some angry god had roused it. On the thirteenth 
day the wind fell, and then they lifted anchor,' 

So he told many a false tale in the likeness of truth, and 
her tears fiov/ed as she listened, and her flesh melted. And 
even as the snow melts in the high places of the hills, the 
snow that the South-East wind has thawed, when the West 
had scattered it abroad, and as it wastes the river streams 



THE ODYSSEY 273 

run full, even so her fair cheeks melted beneath her tears, as 
she wept her own lord, who even then was sitting by her. 
Now Odysseus had compassion of heart upon his wife in her 
lamenting, but his eyes kept steadfast between his eyelids as 
it were horn or iron, and craftily he hid his tears. But she, 
when she had taken her fill of tearful lamentation, answered 
him in turn and spake, saying: 

' Friend as thou art, even now I think to make trial of 
thee, and learn whether in very truth thou didst entertain my 
lord there in thy halls v/ith his godlike company, as thou 
sayest. Tell me what manner of raiment he was clothed in 
about his body, and what manner of man he was himself, 
and tell me of his fellows that went with him.* 

Then Odysseus of many counsels answered her, saying: 
*Lady, it is hard for one so long parted from him to tell 
thee all this, for it is now the twentieth year since he went 
thither and left my country. Yet even so I will tell thee 
as I see him in spirit. Goodly Odysseus wore a thick purple 
mantle, twofold, which had a brooch fashioned in gold, with 
two sheathes for the pins, and on the face of it was a curi- 
ous device: a hound in his forepaws held a dappled fawn 
and gazed on it as it writhed. And all men marvelled at 
the workmanship, how, wrought as they were in gold, the 
hound was gazing on the fawn and strangling it, and the 
fawn was writhing with his feet and striving to flee. More- 
over, I marked the shining doublet about his body, like the 
gleam over the skin of a dried onion, so smooth it was, and 
glistering as the sun ; truly many women looked thereon and 
wondered. Yet another thing will I tell thee, and do thou 
ponder it in thy heart. I know not if Odysseus was thus 
clothed upon at home, or if one of his fellows gave him the 
raiment as he went on board the swift ship, or even it may 
be some stranger, seeing that to many men was Odysseus 
dear, for few of the Achaeans were his peers. I, too, gave 
him a sword of bronze, and a fair purple mantle with double 
fold, and a tasseled doublet, and I sent him away with all 
honour on his decked ship. Moreover, a henchman bare him 
company, somewhat older than he, and I will tell thee of him 
too, what manner of man he was. He was round-shouldered, 
black-skinned, and curly-headed^ his name Eurybates; and 



274 HOMER 

Odysseus honoured him above all his company, because in 
all things he was like-minded with himself/ 

So he spake, and in her heart he stirred yet more the 
desire of weeping, as she knew the certain tokens that Odys- 
seus showed her. So when she had taken her fill of tearful 
lament, then she answered him, and spake, saying : 

'Nov/ verily, stranger, thou that even before wert held in 
pity, shalt be dear and honourable in my halls, for it was I 
who gave him these garments, as judging from thy words, 
and folded them myself, and brought them from the cham- 
ber, and added besides the shining brooch to be his jewel. 
But him I shall never welcome back, returned home to his 
own dear country. Wherefore with an evil fate it was that 
Odysseus went hence in the hollow ship to see that evil 
Ilios, never to be named/ 

And Odysseus of many counsels answered her saying: 
/Wife revered of Odysseus, son of Laertes, destroy not now 
thy fair flesh any more, nor waste thy heart with weeping 
for thy lord ; — not that I count it any blame in thee, for many 
a woman weeps that has lost her wedded lord, to whom she 
has borne children in her love, — albeit a far other man than 
Odysseus, who, they say, is like the gods. Na^y, cease from 
thy lamenting, and lay up my word in thy heart ; for I will 
tell thee without fail, and will hide nought, how but lately 
I heard tell of the return of Odysseus, that he is nigh at hand, 
and yet alive in the fat land of the men of Thesprotia, and 
is bringing with him many choice treasures, as he begs 
through the land. But he has lost his dear companions and 
his hollow ship on the wine-dark sea, on his way from the 
isle Thrinacia: for Zeus and Helios had a grudge against 
him, because his company had slain the kine of Helios. They 
for their part all perished in the wash of the sea, but the 
wave cast him on the keel of the ship out upon the coast, 
on the land of the Phaeacians that are near of kin to the 
gods, and they did him all honour heartily as unto a god, 
and gave him many gifts, and themselves would fain have 
sent him scathless home. Yea and Odysseus would have 
been here long since, but he thought it more profitable to 
gather wealth, as he journeyed over wide lands; so truly is 
Odysseus skilled in gainful arts above all men upon earth. 



THE ODYSSEY 27S 

nor may any mortal men contend with him. So Pheidon 
king of the Thesprotians told me. Moreover he sware, in 
mine own presence, as he poured the drink-offering in his 
house, that the ship was drawn down to the sea and his com- 
pany were ready, who were to convey him to his own dear 
country. But me he first sent off, for it chanced that a 
ship of the Thesprotians was on her way to Dulichium, a 
land rich in grain. And he showed me all the wealth that 
Odysseus had gathered, yea it would suffice for his children 
after him, even to the tenth generation, so great were the 
treasures he had stored in the chambers' of the king. As for 
him he had gone, he said, to Dodona to hear the counsel of 
Zeus, from the high leafy oak tree of the god, how he should 
return to his own dear country, having now been long afar, 
whether openly or by stealth. 

* In this wise, as I tell thee, he is safe and will come 
shortly, and very near he is and will not much longer be far 
from his friends and his own country; yet withal I will 
give thee my oath on it. Zeus be my witness first, of gods 
the highest and best, and the hearth of noble Odysseus where- 
unto I am come, that all these things shall surely be ac- 
complished even as I tell thee. In this same year Odysseus 
shall come hither, as the old moon wanes and the new is 
born.' 

Then wise Penelope answered him : * Ah ! stranger would 
that this word may be accomplished. Soon shouldst thou 
be aware of kindness and many a gift at my hands, so 
that whoso met with thee would call thee blessed. But on 
this wise my heart has a boding, and so it shall be. Neither 
shall Odysseus come home any more, nor shalt thou gain an 
escort hence, since there are not now such masters in the 
house as Odysseus was among men, — if ever such an one 
there was, — to welcome guests revered and speed them on 
their way. But do ye, my handmaids, wash this man's feet 
and strew a couch for him, bedding and m.antles and shining 
blankets, that well and warmly he may come to the time of 
golden-throned Dawn. And very early in the morning bathe 
him and anoint him, that within the house beside Telemachus 
he may eat meat, sitting quietly in the hall. And it shall be 
the worse for any hurtful man of the wooers, that vexes 



276 HOMER 

the stranger, yea he shall not henceforth profit himself here, 
for all his sore anger. For how shalt thou learn concerning 
me, stranger, whether indeed I excel all women in wit and 
thrifty device, if all unkempt and evil clad thou sittest at 
supper in my halls? Man's life is brief enough! And if 
any be a hard man and hard at heart, all men cry evil on 
him for the time to come, while yet he lives, and all men mock 
him when he is dead. But if any be a blameless man and 
blameless of heart, his guests spread abroad his fame over 
the whole earth and many people call him noble.* 

Then Odysseus of many counsels answered her and said: 
' O wife revered of Odysseus, son of Laertes, mantles verily 
and shining blankets are hateful to me, since first I left be- 
hind me the snowy hills of Crete, voyaging in the long-oared 
galley; nay, I will lie as in time past I was used to rest 
through the sleepless nights. For full many a night I have 
lain on an unsightly bed, and awaited the bright throned 
Dawn. And baths for the feet are no longer my delight, 
nor shall any women of those who are serving maidens in 
thy house touch my foot, unless there chance to be some old 
wife, true of heart, one that has borne as much trouble as 
myself; I would not grudge such an one to touch my 
feet.' 

Then wise Penelope answered him: 'Dear stranger, for 
never yet has there come to my house, of strangers from afar, 
a dearer man or so discreet as thou, uttering so heedfuUy 
the words of wisdom. I have an ancient wom^an of an 
understanding heart, that diligently nursed and tended that 
hapless man my lord, she took him in her arms in the 
hour when his mother bare him. She will wash thy feet, 
albeit her strength is frail. Up now, wise Eurycleia, and 
wash this man, whose years are the same as thy master's. 
Yea and perchance such even now are the feet of Odysseus, 
and such too his hands, for quickly men age in misery.' 

So she spake, and the old woman covered her face with 
her hands and shed hot tears, and spake a word of lamen- 
tation, saying: 

* Ah, woe is me, child, for thy sake, all helpless that I am ? 
Surely Zeus hated thee above all men, though thou hadst a 
god-fearing spirit! For never yet did any mortal burn so 



THE ODYSSEY 277 

many fat pieces of the thigh and so many choice hecatombs 
to Zeus, whose joy is in the thunder, as thou didst give to 
him, praying that so thou mightest grow to a smooth old 
age and rear thy renowned son. But now from thee alone 
hath Zeus wholly cut off the day of thy returning. Haply 
at him too did the women mock in a strange land afar, 
whensoever he came to the famous palace of any lord, 
even as here these shameless ones all mock at thee. To 
shun their insults and many taunts it is that thou sufferest 
them not to wash thy feet, but the daughter of Icarius, wise 
Penelope, hath bidden me that am right willing to this task. 
Wherefore I will wash thy feet, both for Penelope's sake and 
for thine own, for that my heart within me is moved and 
troubled. But come, mark the word that I shall speak. 
Many strangers travel-worn have ere now come hither, but 
I say that I have never seen any so like another, as thou art 
like Odysseus, in fashion, in voice and in feet.' 

Then Odysseus of many counsels answered her saying: 
' Old wife, even so all men declare, that have beheld us 
twain, that we favour each other exceedingly, even as thou 
dost mark and say.' 

Thereupon the crone took the shining cauldron, where- 
from^ she set to wash his feet, and poured in much cold 
water and next mingled therewith the warm. Now Odysseus 
sat aloof from the hearth, and of a sudden he turned his 
face to the darkness, for anon he had a misgiving of heart 
lest when she handled him she might know the scar again, 
and all should be revealed. Now she drew near her lord 
to wash him, and straightway she knew the scar of the wound, 
that the boar had dealt him with his white tusk long ago, 
when Odysseus went to Parnassus to see Autolycus, and the 
sons of Autolycus, his mother's noble father, who outdid all 
men in thievery and skill in swearing. This skill was the 
gift of the god himself, even Hermes; for that he burned to 
him the well-pleasing sacrifice of the thighs of lambs and 
kids ; wherefore Hermes abetted him gladly. Now Autolycus 
once had gone to the rich land of Ithaca, and found his 
daughter's son a child new-born, and when he was making 
an end of supper, behold, Eurycleia set the babe on his knees^ 

* Reading to3. 



278 HOMER 

and spake and hailed him : * Autolycus, find now a name thy- 
self to give thy child's own son; for lo, he is a child of 
many prayers/ 

Then Autolycus made answer and spake : * My daughter 
and my daughter's lord, give ye him whatsoever name I 
tell you. Forasmuch as I am come hither in wrath against 
many a one, both man and woman, over the fruitful earth, 
wherefore let the child's name be " a man of wrath," Odys- 
seus. But when the child reaches his full growth, and 
comes to the great house of his mother's kin at Parnassus, 
whereby are my possessions, I will give him a gift out of 
these and send him on his way rejoicing.' 

Therefore it was that Odysseus went to receive the splen- 
did gifts. And Autolycus and the sons of Autolycus grasped 
his hands and greeted him with gentle words, and Amphithea, 
his mother's mother, clasped him in her arms and kissed 
his face and both his fair eyes. Then Autolycus called 
to his renowned sons to get ready the meal, and they 
hearkened to the call. So presently they led in a five-year- 
old bull, which they flayed and busily prepared, and cut up 
all the limbs and deftly chopped them small, and pierced them 
with spits and roasted them cunningly, dividing the messes. 
So for that livelong day they feasted till the going down of 
the sun, and their soul lacked not ought of the equal banquet. 
But when the sun sank and darkness came on, then they laid 
them to rest and took the boon of sleep. 

Now so soon as early Dawn shone forth, the rosy-fingered, 
they all went forth to the chase, the hounds and the sons of 
Autolycus, and with them went the goodly Odysseus. So 
they fared up the steep hill of wood-clad Parnassus, and 
quickly they came to the windy hollows. Now the sun was 
but just striking on the fields, and was come forth from the 
soft flowing stream of deep Oceanus. Then the beaters 
reached a glade of the woodland, and before them went 
the hounds tracking a scent, but behind came the sons of 
Autolycus, and among them goodly Odysseus followed close 
on the hounds, swaying a long spear. Thereby in a thick 
lair was a great boar lying, and through the coppice the 
force of the wet winds blew never, neither did the bright 
sun light on it with his rays, nor could the rain pierce 



THE ODYSSEY 279 

through, so thick it was, and of fallen leaves there was great 
plenty therein. Then the tramp of the men's feet and 
of the dogs' came upon the boar, as they pressed on in the 
chase, and forth from his laii he sprang towards them with 
crest v/ell bristled and fire shining in his eyes, and stood 
at bay before them all Then Odysseus was the first to rush 
in, holding his spear aloft in his strong hand, most eager 
to stab him; but the boar was too quick and drave a gash 
above the knee, ripping deep into the flesh with his tusk 
as he charged sideways, but he reached not to the bone 
of the man. Then Odysseus aimed well and smote him on 
his right shoulder, so that the point of the bright spear went 
clean through, and the boar fell in the dust with a cry, and 
his life passed from him. Then the dear sons of Autolycus 
began to busy them with the carcase, and as for the wound 
of the noble godlike Odysseus, they bound it up skilfully, and 
stayed the black blood with a song of healing, and straight- 
way returned to the house of their dear father. Then Autol- 
ycus and the sons of Autolycus got him well healed of his 
hurt, and gave him splendid gifts, and quickly sent him 
with all love to Ithaca, gladly speeding a glad guest. There 
his father and lady mother were glad of his returning, and 
asked him of all his adventures, and of his wound how he 
came by it, and duly he told them all, namely how the boar 
gashed him with his white tusk in the chase, when he had 
gone to Parnassus with the sons of Autolycus. 

Now the old woman took the scarred limb and passed her 
hands down it, and knew it by the touch and let the foot 
drop suddenly, so that the knee fell into the bath, and the 
brazen vessel rang, being turned over on the other side, and 
behold, the water v/as spilled on the ground. Then joy and 
anguish came on her in one moment, and both her eyes filled 
up with tears, and the voice of her utterance was stayed, and 
touching the chin of Odysseus she spake to him, saying : 

' Yea verily, thou art Odysseus, my dear child, and I knew 
thee not before, till I had handled all the body of my lord.' 

Therewithal she looked towards Penelope, as minded to 
make a sign that her husband was now home. But Penelope 
could not meet her eyes nor take note of her, for Athene 
had bent her thoughts to other things. But Odysseus feeling 



280 HOMER 

for the old woman's throat gript it with his right hand and 

with the other drew her closer to him and spake, saying : j 

* Woman, why wouldest thou indeed destroy me ? It was 
thou that didst nurse me there at thine own breast, and now 
after travail and much pain I am come in the twentieth 
year to mine own country. But since thou art ware of me, 
and the god has put this in thy heart, be silent, lest another 
learn the matter in the halls. For on this wise I will de- 
clare it, and it shall surely be accomplished : — if the gods 
subdue the lordly wooers unto me, I will not hold my hand 
from thee, my nurse though thou art, when I slay the other 
handmaids in my halls.' 

Then wise Eurycleia answered, saying : * My child, what 
word hath escaped the door of thy lips ? Thou knowest hov/ 
firm is my spirit and unyielding, and I will keep me fast as 
stubborn stone or iron. Yet another thing will I tell thee, 
and do thou ponder it in thine heart. If the gods subdue the 
lordly wooers to thy hand, then will I tell thee all the tale of 
the women in the halls, which of them dishonour thee and | 

which be guiltless/ 

Then Odysseus of many counsels answered her saying: 
' Nurse, wherefore I pray thee wilt thou speak of these ? 
Thou needest not, for even I myself will mark them well and 
take knowledge of each. Nay, do thou keep thy saying to 
thyself, and leave the rest to the gods." 

Even so he spake, and the old woman passed forth from 
the hall to bring water for his feet, for that first water was 
all spilled. So when she had washed him and anointed him 
well with olive-oil, Odysseus again drew up his settle nearer 
to the fire to warm himself, and covered up the scar with his 
rags. Then the wise Penelope spake first, saying: 

* Stranger, there is yet a little thing I will make bold to ask 
thee, for soon will it be the hour for pleasant rest, for him on 
whomsoever sweet sleep falls, though he be heavy with care. 
But to me has the god given sorrow, yea sorrow measureless, 

for all the day I have my fill of wailing and lamenting, as I j 

look to mine own housewiferies and to the tasks of the 
maidens in the house. But when night com.es and sleep 
takes hold of all, I lie on my couch, and shrev/d cares, thick 
thronging about my inmost heart, disquiet me in mj sorrow- 



THE ODYSSEY 281 

ing. Even as when the daughter of Pandareiis, the nightin- 
gale of the greenwood, sings sweet in the first season of the 
spring, from her place in the thick leafage of the trees, and 
with many a turn and trill she pours forth her full-voiced 
m.usic bewailing her child, dear Itylus, whom on a time she 
slew with the sword unwitting, Itylus the son of Zethus the 
prince ; even as her song, my troubled soul sways to and fro. 
Shall I abide with my son, and keep all secure, all the things 
of my getting, my thralls and great high-roofed home, having 
respect unto the bed of m.y lord and the voice of the people, 
or even now follow with the best of the Achaeans that woos 
me in the halls, and gives a bride-price beyond reckoning? 
Now my son, so long as he was a child and light of heart, 
suffered me not to marry and leave the house of my hus- 
band; but nov/ that he is great of growth, and is come to 
the full measure of manhood, lo now he prays me to go 
back home from these walls, being vexed for his possessions 
that the Achaeans devour before his eyes. But come now, 
hear a dream of mine and tell me the interpretation thereof. 
Twenty geese I have in the house, that eat wheat, coming 
forth from the water, and I am gladdened at the sight. Now 
a great eagle of crooked beak swooped from the mountain, 
and brake all their necks and slew them; and they lay 
strewn in a heap in the halls, while he was borne aloft 
to the bright air. Thereon I wept and wailed, in a dream 
though it was, and around me were gathered the fair-tressed 
Achaean women as I made piteous lament, for that the eagle 
had slain my geese. But he came back and sat him down 
on a jutting point of the roof-beam, and with the voice of 
a man he spake, and stayed m.y weeping : 

* " Take heart, O daughter of renowned Icarius ; this is 
no dream but a true vision, that shall be accomplished for 
thee. The geese are the wooers, and I that before was the 
eagle am now thy husband come again, who will let slip 
unsightly death upon all the wooers." With that word sweet 
slumber let me go, and I looked about, and beheld the geese 
in the court pecking their wheat at the trough, where they 
were wont before.' 

Then Odysseus of many counsels answered her and said: 
* Lady, none may turn aside the dream to interpret it other- 



282 HOMER 

-wise, seeing that Odysseus himself hath showed thee how he 
v/ill fulfil it. For the wooers destruction is clearly boded, for 
all and every one ; not a man shall avoid death and the fates.' 

Then wise Penelope answered him : * Stranger, verily 
dreams are hard, and hard to be discerned ; nor are all things 
therein fulfilled for men. Twain are the gates of shadowy 
dreams, the one is fashioned of horn and one of ivory. 
Such dreams as pass through the portals of sawn ivory are 
deceitful, and bear tidings that are unfulfilled. But the 
dreams that come forth through the gates of polished horn 
bring a true issue, whosoever of mortals beholds themi. Yet 
methinks my strange dream came not thence; of a truth 
that would be most welcome to me and to my son. But 
another thing will I tell thee, and do thou ponder it in thy 
heart. Lo, even now draws nigh the morn of evil name, 
that is to sever me from the house of Odysseus, for now 
I am about to ordain for a trial those axes that he would 
set up in a row in his halls, like stays of oak in ship- 
building, twelve in all, and he would stand far apart and 
shoot his arrow through them all. And now I will offer this 
contest to the wooers; whoso shall most easily string the 
bow in his hands, and shoot through all twelve axes, with 
him will I go and forsake this house, this house of my wed- 
lock, so fair and filled with all livelihood, which methinks 
I shall yet remember, aye, in a dream.' 

Then Odysseus of many counsels answered her and said: 
* Wife revered of Odysseus, son of Laertes, no longer delay 
this contest in thy halls; for, lo, Odysseus of many counsels 
will be here, before these men, for all their handling of this 
polished bow, shall have strung it, and shot the arrow 
through the iron.' 

Then the wise Penelope answered him : * Stranger, if only 
thou wert willing still to sit beside me in the halls and to 
delight me, not upon my eyelids would sleep be shed. But 
men may in no wise abide sleepless ever, for the immortals 
have made a time for all things for mortals on the grain- 
giving earth. Howbeit I will go aloft to my upper chamber, 
and lay me on my bed, the place of my groanings, that is 
ever watered by my tears, since the day that Odysseus went 
to see that evil Ilios, never to be named. There will I lay 



THE ODYSSEY 283 

me down, but do thou live in this house; either strew thee 
somewhat on the floor, or let them lay bedding for thee/ 

Therewith she ascended to her shining upper chamber, 
not alone, for with her likewise went her handmaids. So she 
went aloft to her upper chamber with the women her hand- 
maids, and there was bewailing Odysseus, her dear lord, till 
grey;-eyed Athene cast sweet sleep ugon her eyelids. 




BOOK XX 

Pallas and Odysseus consult of the killing of the wooers, 

|UT the goodly Odysseus laid him down to sleep in the 
vestibule of the house. He spread an undressed 
bull's hide on the ground and above it many fleeces 
of sheep, that the Achaeans were wont to slay in sacrifice, 
and Eurynome threw a mantle over him where he lay. 
There Odysseus lay wakeful, with evil thoughts against the 
wooers in his heart. And the women came forth from their 
chamber, that aforetime were wont to lie with the wooers, 
making laughter and mirth among themselves. Then the 
heart of Odysseus was stirred within his breast, and much 
he communed with his mind and soul, whether he should 
leap forth upon them and deal death to each, or suffer them 
to lie with the proud wooers, now for the last and latest 
time. And his heart growled sullenly within him. And even 
as a bitch stands over her tender whelps growling, when she 
spies a man she knows not, and she is eager to assail him, 
so growled his heart within him in his wrath at their evil 
deeds. Then he smote upon his breast and reUuked his own 
heart, saying: 

'Endure, my heart; yea, a baser thing thou once didst 
bear, on that day when the Cyclops, unrestrained in fury, 
devoured the mighty men of my company; but still thou 
didst endure till thy craft found a way for thee forth from 
out the cave, where thou thoughtest to die.' 

So spake he, chiding his own spirit within him, and his 
heart verily abode steadfast in obedience to his word. But 
Odysseus himself lay tossing this way and that. And as 
when a man by a great fire burning takes a paunch full 
of fat and blood, and turns it this way and that and longs 
to have it roasted most speedily, so Odysseus tossed from 
side to side, musing how he might stretch forth his hands 



THE ODYSSEY 285 

upon the shameless wooers, being but one man against so 
many. Then down from heaven came Athene and drew 
nigh him, fashioned in the likeness of a woman. And she 
stood over his head and spake to him, saying: 

*Lo now again, wherefore art thou watching, most luck- 
less of all men living? Is not this thy house and is not 
thy wife there within and thy child, such a son as men wish 
to have for their own?' 

Then Odysseus of many counsels answered her saying: 
* Yea, goddess, all this thou hast spoken as is meet. But 
my heart within me muses in some measure upon this, how 
I may stretch forth my hands upon the shameless wooers, 
being but one man, while they abide ever in their com- 
panies within. Moreover, this other and harder matter I 
ponder in my heart: even if I were to slay them by thy 
will and the will of Zeus, whither should I flee from the 
avengers? Look well to this, I pray thee.' 

Then answered the goddess, grey-eyed Athene: 'O hard 
of belief ! yea, many there be that trust even in a weaker 
friend than I am, in one that is a mortal and knows not such 
craft as miine ; but I am a god, that preserve thee to the end, 
in all manner of toils. And now I will tell thee plainly ; even 
should fifty companies of mortal men compass us about 
eager to slay us in battle, even their kine shouldst thou 
drive off and their brave flocks. But let sleep in turn come 
over thee; to wake and to watch all night, this too is vexa- 
tion of spirit; and soon shalt thou rise from out of thy 
troubles.' 

So she spake and poured slumber upon his eyelids, but 
for her part the fair goddess went back to Olympus. 

While sleep laid hold of him loosening the cares of his 
soul, sleep that loosens the limbs of men, his good wife 
awoke and wept as she sat on her soft bed. But v/hen she 
had taken her fill of weeping, to Artem.is first the fair lady 
made her prayer: 

* Artemis, lady and goddess, daughter of Zeus, would that 
even now thou wouldst plant thy shaft within my breast and 
take my life away, even in this hour ! Or else, would that 
the stormwind might snatch me up, and bear me hence down 
the dusky ways, and cast me forth where the back-flowing 



286 HOMER 

Oceanus mingles with the sea. It should be even as when the 
stormwinds bare away the daughters of Pandareus. Their 
father and their mother the gods had slain, and the maidens 
were left orphans in the, halls, and fair Aphrodite cherished 
them with curds and sweet honey and delicious wine. And 
Here gave them beauty and wisdom beyond the lot of women, 
and holy Artemis dowered them with stature, and Athene 
taught them skill in all famous handiwork. Now while fair 
Aphrodite was wending to high Olympus, to pray that a glad 
marriage might be accomplished for the maidens,— and to 
Zeus she went whose joy is in the thunder, for he knows all 
things well, what the fates give and deny to mortal men — 
in the meanwhile the spirits of the storm snatched away 
these maidens, and gave them to be handmaids to the hateful 
Erinyes. Would that in such wise they that hold the man- 
sions of Olympus would take me from the sight of men, or 
that fair-tressed Artemis would strike me, that so with a 
vision of Odysseus before mine eyes I might even pass be- 
neath the dreadful earth, nor ever make a baser man's de- 
light ! But herein is an evil that may well be borne, namely, 
when a man weeps all the day long in great sorrow of heart, 
but sleep takes him in the night, for sleep makes him forget- 
ful of all things, of good and evil, when once it has over- 
shadowed his eyelids. But as for me, even the dreams that 
the gods send upon me are evil. For furthermore, this very 
night one seemed to lie by my side, in the likeness of my lord, 
as he was when he went with the host, and then v/as m.y 
heart glad, since methought it was no vain dream but a clear 
vision at the last.' 

So she spake, and anon came the golden-throned Dawn. 
Now goodly Odysseus caught the voice of her weeping, and 
then he fell a musing, and it seemed to him that even now 
she knew him and v/as standing by his head. So he took 
up the mantle and the fleeces whereon he was lying, and set 
them on a high seat in the hall, and bare out the bull's hide 
out of doors and laid it there, and lifting up his hands he 
prayed to Zeus: 

* Father Zeus, if ye gods of your good will have led me 
over v/et and dry, to mine own country, after ye had plagued 
me sore, let some one I pray of the folk that are waking 



THE ODYSSEY 287 

show me a word of good omen within, and without let some 
sign also be revealed to m.e from Zeus/ 

So he spake in prayer, and Zeus, the counsellor, heard 
him. Straightway he thundered from shining Olympus, 
from, on high from the place of clouds ; and goodly Odysseus 
was glad. Moreover, a woman, a grinder at the mill, uttered 
a voice of omen from within the house hard by, where stood 
the mills of the shepherd of the people. At these handmills 
twelve wom.en in all plied their task, making meal of barley 
and of wheat, the m.arrow of men. Now all the others were 
asleep, for they had ground out their task of grain, but one 
alone rested not yet, being the weakest of all. She now 
stayed her quern and spake a word, a sign to her lord : 

' Father Zeus, who rulest over gods and men, loudly hast 
thou thundered from the starry sky, yet nowhere is there a 
cloud to be seen : this surely is a portent thou art showing to 
some mortal. Fulfil now, I pray thee, even to miserable me, 
the word that I shall speak. May the wooers, on this day, 
for the last and latest time make their sweet feasting in the 
halls of Odysseus ! They that have loosened my knees with 
cruel toil to grind their barley meal, may they now sup their 
last ! ' 

Thus she spake, and goodly Odysseus was glad in the 
omen of the voice and in the thunder of Zeus; for he 
thought that he had gotten his vengeance on the guilty. 

Now the other maidens in the fair halls of Odysseus had 
gathered, and were kindling on the hearth the never-resting 
fire. And Telemachus rose from his bed, a godlike man, 
and put on his raiment, and slung a sharp sword about 
his shoulders, and beneath his shining feet he bound his 
goodly sandals. And he caught up his mighty spear shod 
with sharp bronze, and went and stood by the threshold, and 
spake to Eurycleia: 

* Dear nurse, have ye honoured our guest in the house 
with food and couch, or does he lie uncared for, as he may? 
For this is my mother's way, wise as she is: blindly she 
honours one of mortal men, even the worse, but the better 
she sends without honour away.' 

Then the prudent Eurycleia answered : * Nay, my child, 
thou shouldst not now blame her where no blame is. Ivor 



288 HOMER 

the stranger sat and drank wine, so long as he would, 
and of food he said he was no longer fain, for thy mother 
asked him. Moreover, against the hour when he should 
bethink him of rest and sleep, she bade the maidens strew 
for him a bed. But he, as one utterly wretched and ill-fated, 
refused to lie on a couch and under blankets, but on an 
undressed hide and on the fleeces of sheep he slept in the 
vestibule, and we cast a mantle over him.' 

So she spake, and Telemachus passed out through the 
hall with his lance irt his hand, and two fleet dogs bare him 
company. He v/ent on his way to the assembly-place to join 
the goodly-greaved Achaeans. But the good lady Eurycleia, 
daughter of Ops son of Peisenor, called aloud to her 
maidens : 

* Come hither, let some of you go busily and sweep the 
hall, and sprinkle it, and on the fair-fashioned seats throw 
purple coverlets, and others with sponges wipe all the tables 
clean, and cleanse the mixing bowls and well-wrought double 
beakers, and others again go for water to the well, and re- 
turn with it right speedil3\ For the wooers will not long be 
out of the hall but will return very early, for it is a feast 
day, yea for all the people.' 

So she spake, and they all gave ready ear and hearkened. 
Twenty of them went to the well of dark v/ater, and the 
others there in the halls were busy with skilful hands. 

Then in came the serving-men of the Achaeans. Thereon 
they cleft the faggots well and cunningly, while, behold, the 
women came back from the well. Then the swineherd 
joined them leading three fatted boars, the best in all the 
flock. These he left to feed at large in the fair courts, but 
as for him he spake to Odysseus gently, saying: 

* Tell me, stranger, do the Achaeans at all look on thee 
with more regard, or do they dishonour thee in the halls, as 
heretofore? ' 

Then Odysseus of many counsels answered him saying: 

* Oh, that the gods, Eumaeus, may avenge the scorn where- 
with these men deal insolently, and devise infatuate deeds in 
another's house, and have no place for shame ! ' 

On such wise they spake one to another. And Melanthius 
drew near them, the goatherd, leading the goats that were 



THE ODYSSEY 289 

most excellent in all the herds to be a dinner for the wooers, 
and two shepherds bare him company. So he tethered the 
goats beneath the echoing gallery, and himself spake to 
Odysseus and taunted him, saying: 

' Stranger, wilt thou still be a plague to us here in the 
hall, with thy begging of men, and wilt not get thee gone? 
In no wise do I think we twain will be sundered, till we taste 
each the other's fists, for thy begging is out of all order. 
Also there are elsewhere other feasts of the Achaeans/ 

So he spake, but Odysseus of many counsels answered him 
not a word, but in silence he shook his head, brooding evil 
in the deep of his heart. 

Moreover a third man came up, Philoetius, a master o£ 
men, leading a barren heifer for the wooers and fatted goats. 
Now ferrymen had brought them over from the mainland, 
boatmen who send even other folks on their way, whosoever 
comes to them. The cattle he tethered carefully beneath 
the echoing gallery, and himself drew close to the swine- 
herd, and began to question him: 

' Swineherd, who is this stranger but newly come to our 
house ? From what men does he claim his birth ? Where are 
his kin and his native fields? Hapless is he, yet in fashion 
he is like a royal lord; but the gods mar the goodliness of 
wandering men, when even for kings they have woven the 
web of trouble.' 

So he spake, and came close to him offering his right 
hand in welcome, and uttering his voice spake to him 
winged words : 

'Father and stranger, hail ! may happiness be thine in the 
time to come; but as now, thou art fast holden in many 
sorrows ! Father Zeus, none other god is more baneful than 
thou; thou hast no compassion on men, that are of thine 
own begetting, but makest them to have fellowship with evil 
and with bitter pains. The sweat brake out on me when I 
beheld him, and mine eyes stand full of tears for memory of 
Odysseus, for he too, methinks, is clad in such vile raiment as 
this, and is wandering among men, if haply he yet lives and 
sees the sunlight. But if he be dead already and in the 
house of Hades, then woe is me for the noble Odysseus, who 
set me over his cattle while I was but a lad in the land of the 

J— Vol. 22 HC 



290 HOMER 

Cephallenians. And now these wax numberless ; in no better 
wise could the breed of broad-browed cattle of any mortal 
increase, even as the ears of corn. But strangers command 
me to be ever driving these for themselves to devour, and 
they care nothing for the heir in the house, nor tremble at 
the vengeance of the gods, for they are eager even now to 
divide among themselves the possessions of our lord who is 
long afar. Now my heart within my breast often revolves 
this thing. Truly it were an evil deed, while a son of the 
master is yet alive, to get me away to the land of strangers, 
and go off, with cattle and all, to alien men. But this is more 
grievous still, to abide here in affliction watching over the 
herds of other men. Yea, long ago I would have fled and 
gone forth to some other of the proud kings, for things are 
now past sufferance; but still my thought is of that hap- 
less one, if he might come I know not whence, and make a 
scattering of the wooers in the halls.' 
Then Odysseus of many counsels answered him saying: 

* Neatherd, seeing thou art not like to an evil man or a 
foolish, and of myself I mark how that thou hast gotten 
understanding of heart, therefore I will tell thee somewhat, 
and swear a great oath to confirm it. Be Zeus now my 
witness before any god, and the hospitable board and the 
hearth of noble Odysseus, whereunto I am come, that while 
thou art still in this place Odysseus shall come home, and 
thou shalt see with thine eyes, if thou wilt, the slaying of the 
wooers who lord it here.' 

Then the neatherd made answer, saying: 

* Ah, would, stranger, that Cronion may accomplish this 
word ! So shouldst thou know what my might is, and how 
my hands follow to obey.' 

In like manner Eumaeus prayed to all the gods, that wise 
Odysseus might return to his own home. 

On such wise they spake one to the other, but the wooers 
at that time were framing death and doom for Telemachus. 
Even so there came by them a bird on their left, an eagle 
of lofty flight, with a cowering dove in his clutch. Then 
Amphinomus made harangue and spake among them: 

* Friends, this counsel of ours will not go well, namely, the 
slaying of Telemachus ; rather let us bethink us of the feast/ 



THE ODYSSEY 291 

So spake Amphinomus, and his saying pleased them well. 
They passed into the halls of godlike Odysseus and laid by 
their mantles on the chairs and high seats, and sacrificed 
great sheep and stout goats and the fatlings of the boars and 
the heifer of the herd; then they roasted the entrails and 
served them round and mixed wine in the bowl, and the 
swineherd set a cup by each man. And Philoetius, a master 
of men, handed them wheaten bread in beautiful baskets, 
and Melanthius poured out the wine. So they put forth 
their hands on the good cheer set before them. 

Now Telemachus, in his crafty purpose, made Odysseus 
to sit down within the stablished hall by the threshold of 
stone, and placed for him a mean settle and a little table. 
He set by him his mess of the entrails, and poured wine into 
a golden cup and spake to him, saying: 

* There, sit thee down, drinking thy wine among the lords, 
and the taunts and buffets of all the w^ooers I myself will 
ward off from thee, for this is no house of public resort, 
but the very house of Odysseus, and for me he v/on it. 
But, ye wooers, refrain your minds from rebukes and your 
hands from buffets, that no strife and feud may arise.' 

So he said, and they all bit their lips and marvelled at 
Telemachus, in that he spake boldly. Then Antinous, son 
of Eupeithes, spake among them, saying: 

* Hard though the word be, let us accept it, Achaeans, even 
the word of Telemachus, though mightily he threatens us 
in his speech. For Zeus Cronion hath hindered us of our 
purpose, else would we have silenced him in our halls, shrill 
orator as he is.' 

So spake Antinous, but Telemachus took no heed of his 
words. Now the henchm.en were leading through the town 
the holy hecatomb of the gods, and lo, the long-haired 
Achaeans were gathered beneath the shady grove of Apollo, 
the prince of archery. 

Now when they had roasted the outer flesh and drawn it 
off the spits, they divided the messes and shared the glorious 
feast. And beside Odysseus they that waited set an equal 
share, the same as that which fell to themselves, for so 
Telemachus commanded, the dear son of divine Odysseus. 

Now Athene would in nowise suffer the lordly v/ooers to 



292 HOMER 

abstain from biting scorn, that the pain might sink yet the 
deeper into the heart of Odysseus, son of Laertes. There 
was among the wooers a man of a lawless heart, Ctesippus 
was his name and in Same was his home, who trusting, 
forsooth, to his vast possessions, was wooing the wife of 
Odysseus the lord long afar. And now he spake among 
the proud wooers: 

* Hear me, ye lordly wooers, and I will say somewhat. 
The stranger verily has long had his due portion, as is meet, 
an equal share; for it is not fair nor just to rob the guests 
of Telemachus of their right, whosoever they may be that 
come to this house. Go to then, I also will bestow on him 
a stranger's gift, that he in turn may give a present either 
to the bath-woman, or to any other of the thralls within the 
house of godlike Odysseus.' 

Therewith he caught up an ox's foot from the dish, where 
it lay, and hurled it with strong hand. But Odysseus lightly 
avoided it with a turn of his head, and smiled right grimly 
in his heart, and the ox's foot smote the well-builded wall. 
Then Telemachus rebuked Ctesippus, saying: 

* Verily, Ctesippus, it has turned out happier for thy heart's 
pleasure as it is I Thou didst not smite the stranger, for he 
himself avoided that which was cast at him, else surely would 
I have struck thee through the midst with the sharp spear, 
and in place of wedding banquet thy father would have had 
to busy him about a funeral feast in this place. Wherefore 
let no man make show of unseemly deeds in this my house, 
for now I have understanding to discern both good and 
evil, but in time past I was yet a child. But as needs we 
must, we still endure to see these deeds, while sheep are 
slaughtered and wine drunken and bread devoured, for hard 
it is for one man to restrain many. But come, no longer 
work me harm out of an evil heart; but if ye be set on 
slaying me, even me, with the sword, even that would I 
rather endure, and far better would it be to die than to wit- 
ness for e^ver these unseemly deeds — strangers shamefully 
entreated, and men haling the handmaidens in foul wise 
througJi the fair house.' 

So he spake, and they were all hushed in silence. And 
late and at last spake among them Agelaus, son of Damastor : 



THE ODYSSEY 293 

^Friends, when a righteous word has been spoken, none 
surely would rebuke another with hard speech and be angry. 
Misuse ye not this stranger, nor any of the thralls that are 
in the house of godlike Odysseus. But to Telemachus 
himself I would speak a soft word and to his mother, if 
perchance it may find favour with the mind of those twain. 
So long as your hearts within you had hope of the wise 
Odysseus returning to his own house, so long none could 
be wroth that ye waited and held back the wooers in the halls, 
for so had it been better, if Odysseus had returned and come 
back to his own home. But now the event is plain, that he 
will return no more. Go then, sit by thy mother and tell 
her all, namely, that she must wed the best man that wooes 
her, and whoso gives most gifts; so shalt thou with gladness 
live on the heritage of thy father, eating and drinking, while 
she cares for another's house.' 

Then wise Telemachus answered, and said : ' Nay by 
Zeus, Agelaus, and by the griefs of my father, who far away 
methinks from Ithaca has perished or goes wandering, in 
nowise do I delay my mother's marriage; nay, I bid her be 
married to what man she will, and withal I offer gifts with- 
out number. But I do indeed feel shame to drive her forth 
from the hall, despite her will, by a word of compulsion ; God 
forbid that ever this should be.' 

So spake Telemachus, but among the wooers Pallas Athene 
roused laughter unquenchable, and drave their wits wander- 
ing. And now they were laughing with alien lips, and 
blood-bedabbled was the flesh they ate, and their eyes 
were filled with tears and their soul was fain of lamenta- 
tion. Then the godlike Theoclymenus spake among them: 

* Ah, wretched men, what woe is this ye suffer? Shrouded 
in night are your heads and your faces and your knees, and 
kindled is the voice of wailing, and all cheeks are wet with 
tears, and the walls and the fair main-beams of the roof 
are sprinkled with blood. And the porch is full, and full 
is the court, of ghosts that hasten hellwards beneath the 
gloom, and the sun has perished out of heaven, and an evil 
mist has overspread the world.' 

So spake he, and they all laughed sweetly at him. Then 
Eurymachus, son of Polybus, began to speak to them, saying : 



294 ^ HOMER 

*The guest that is newly come from a strange land is 
beside himself. Quick, ye young men, and convey him 
forth out of doors, that he may go to the place of the 
gathering, since here he finds it dark as night/ 

Then godlike Theoclymenus answered him : * Eurymachus, 
in nowise do I seek guides of thee to send me on my way. 
Eyes have I, and ears, and both my feet, and a stable mind 
in my breast of no mean fashioning. With these I will go 
forth, for I see evil coming on you, which not one man of 
the wooers may avoid or shun, of all you who in the house 
of divine Odysseus deal insolently with men and devise 
infatuate deeds.' 

Therewith he went forth from out of the fair-lying halls, 
and came to Peiraeus who received him gladly. Then all the 
wooers, looking one at the other, provoked Telemachus to 
anger, laughing at his guests. And thus some one of the 
haughty youths would speak : 

* Telemachus, no man is more luckless than thou in his 
guests, seeing thou keepest such a filthy wanderer, whosoever 
he be, always longing for bread and wine, and skilled in no 
peaceful work nor any deed of war, but a mere burden of 
the earth. And this other fellow again must stand up to 
play the seer ! Nay, but if thou wouldest listen to me, much 
better it were. Let us cast these strangers on board a 
benched ship, and send them to the Sicilians, whence they 
would fetch thee their price.' ^ 

So spake the wooers, but he heeded not their words; 
in silence he looked towards his father, expecting evermore 
the hour when he should stretch forth his hands upon the 
shameless wooers. 

Now the daughter of Icarius, wise Penelope, had set her 
fair chair over against them, and heard the words of each 
one of the men in the halls. For in the midst of laughter 
they had got ready the midday meal, a sweet meal and abun- 
dant, for they had sacrificed many cattle. But never could 
there be a banquet less gracious than that supper, such an 
one as the goddess and the brave man were soon to spread 
for them; for that they had begun the devices of shame. 

1 Reading aA^otv, which is a correction. Or, keeping the MSS. aA<^04, 
*and this should bring thee in a goodly price/ the subject to aA^oi being, 
probably, the sale, which is suggested by the context. 




BOOK XXI 

Penelope bringeth forth her husband's bow, which the suitors could 
not bend, but was bent by Odysseus. 

"OW the goddess, grey-eyed Athene, put it into the 
heart of the daughter of Icarius, wise Penelope, to 
set the bow and the axes of grey iron, for the 
wooers in the halls of Odysseus, to be the weapons of the 
contest, and the beginning of death. So she descended the 
tall staircase of her chamber, and took the well-bent key 
in her strong hand, a goodly key of bronze, whereon was a 
handle of ivory. And she betook her, with her handmaid- 
ens, to the treasure-chamber in the uttermost part of the 
house, where lay the treasures of her lord, bronze and gold 
and well-wrought iron. And there lay the back-bent bow 
and the quiver for the arrows, and many shafts were therein, 
winged for death, gifts of a friend of Odysseus, that met 
with him in Lacedaemon, Iphitus son of Eurytus, a man 
like to the gods. These twain fell in with one another in 
Messene, in the house of wise Ortilochus. Now Odysseus 
had gone thither to recover somewhat that was owing to 
him from all the people, for the men of Messene had lifted 
three hundred sheep in benched ships from out of Ithaca, 
with the shepherds of the flock. In quest of these it was 
that Odysseus went on a far embassy, being yet a lad; for 
his father and the other elders sent him forth. Moreover, 
Iphitus came thither in his search for twelve brood mares, 
which he had lost, with sturdy mules at the teat. These 
same it was that brought him death and destiny in the latter 
end, when he came to the child of Zeus, hardy of heart, the 
man Heracles, that had knowledge of great adventures, 
who smote Iphitus though his guest in his house, in his 
frowardness, and had no regard for the vengeance of the 
gods, nor for the table which he spread before him; for 
after the meal he slew him, his guest though he was, and 

295 



296 HOMER 

kept for himself in the halls the horses strong of hoof. 
After these was Iphitus asking, when he met with Odysseus, 
and he gave him the bow, which of old great Eurytus bare 
and had left at his death to his son in his lofty house. And 
Odysseus gave Iphitus a sharp sword and a mighty spear, 
for the beginning of a loving friendship; but never had 
they acquaintance one of another at the board; ere that 
might be, the son of Zeus slew Iphitus son of Eurytus, a 
man like to the immortals, the same that gave Odysseus the 
bow. But goodly Odysseus would never take it - with him 
on the black ships, as he went to the wars, but the bow was 
laid by at home in the halls as a memorial of a dear guest, 
and he carried it on his ov/n land. 

Now when the fair lady had come even to the treasure- 
chamber, and had stept upon the threshold of oak, which the 
carpenter had on a time planed cunningly, and over it had 
made straight the line, — doorposts also had he fitted thereby, 
whereon he set shining doors, — anon she quickly loosed 
the strap from the handle of the door, and thrust in the key, 
and with a straight aim shot back the bolts. And even 
as a bull roars that is grazing in a meadow, so mightily 
roared the fair doors smitten by the key; and speedily they 
flew open before her. Then she stept on to the high floor, 
where the coffers stood, wherein the fragrant raiment was 
stored. Thence she stretched forth her hand, and took the 
bow from off the pin, all in the bright case which sheathed 
it around. And there she sat down, and set the case upon 
her knees, and cried aloud and wept, and took out the bow of 
her lord. Now when she had her fill of tearful lament, she 
set forth to go to the hall to the company of the proud 
wooers, with the back-bent bow in her hands, and the quiver 
for the arrows, and many shafts were therein winged for 
death. And her maidens along with her bare a chest, 
wherein lay much store of iron and bronze, the gear of com- 
bat of their lord. Now when the fair lady had come unto 
the wooers, she stood by the pillar of the well-builded roof, 
holding up her glistening tire before her face; and a faith- 
ful maiden stood on either side of her, and straightway 
she spake out among the wooers and declared her word, 
saying : 



THE ODYSSEY 297 

'Hear me, ye lordly wooers, who have vexed this house, 
that ye might eat and drink here evermore, forasmuch as 
the master is long gone, nor could ye find any other mark^ 
for your speech, but all your desire was to wed me and take 
me to wife. Nay come now, ye wooers, seeing that this is 
the prize that is put before you. I will set forth for you the 
great bow of divine Odysseus, and whoso shall most easily 
string the bow in his hands, and shoot through all twelve 
axes, with him will I go and forsake this house, this house of 
my wedlock, so fair and filled with all livelihood, which me- 
thinks I shall yet remember, aye, in a dream.' 

So spake she, and commanded Eumaeus, the goodly swine- 
herd, to set the bows for the wooers and the axes of grey 
iron. And Eumaeus took them with tears, and laid them 
down; and otherwhere the neatherd wept, when he beheld 
the bow of his lord. Then Antinous rebuked them, and 
spake and hailed them: 

'Foolish boors, whose thoughts look not beyond the day, 
ah, wretched pair, wherefore now do ye shed tears, and stir 
the soul of the lady within her, when her heart already lies 
low in pain, for that she has lost her dear lord? Nay sit, 
and feast in silence, or else get ye forth and weep, and leave 
the bow here behind, to be a terrible contest for the wooers, 
for methinks that this polished bow does not lightly yield 
itself to be strung. For there is no man among all these 
present such as Odysseus was, and I myself saw him, yea I 
remember it well, though I was still but a child.' 

So spake he, but his heart within him hoped that he 
would string the bow, and shoot through the iron. Yet 
verily, he was to be the first that should taste the arrow 
at the hands of the noble Odysseus, whom but late he was 
dishonouring as he sat in the halls, and v/as inciting all his 
fellows to do likev/ise. 

Then the mighty prince Telemachus spake among them, 
saying: *Lo now, in very truth, Cronion has robbed me of 
my wits ! My dear mother, wise as she is, declares that she 

iThe accepted interpretation of Itrtcrx^air^ (a word which occurs only 
here) is 'pretext'; but this does not agree with any of the meanings of the 
verb from which the noun is derived. The usage of eTre^w m Od. xix. 71, 
xxii. 75, of eirtVxeiv in II. xvii.i 46s, and^ of eTto-xoMevos m^Od. xxu. IS. 
suggests rather for ejrio-xeo-ti} the idea of 'aiming at a mark. 



298 HOMER 

will go with a stranger and forsake this house; yet I laugK 
and in my silly heart I am glad. Nay come now, ye wooers, 
seeing that this is the prize which is set before you, a lady, 
the like of whom there is not now in the Achaean land, 
neither in sacred Pylos, nor in Argos, nor in Mycenae, nor 
yet in Ithaca, nor in the dark mainland. Nay but ye know 
all this yourselves, — why need I praise my mother? Come 
therefore, delay not the issue with excuses, nor hold much 
longer aloof from the drawing of the bow, that we may 
see the thing that is to be. Yea and I myself would make 
trial of this bow. If I shall string it, and shoot through the 
iron, then should I not sorrow if my lady mother were to 
quit these halls and go with a stranger, seeing that I should 
be left behind, well able now to lift my father^s goodly gear 
of combat/ 

Therewith he cast from off his neck his cloak of scarlet, 
and sprang to his full height, and put away the sword from 
his shoulders. First he dug a good trench and set up the 
axes, one long trench for them all, and over it he made 
straight the line and round about stamped in the earth. 
And amazement fell on all that beheld how orderly he set 
the axes, though never before had he seen it so. Then he 
went and stood by the threshold and began to prove the 
bow» Thrice he made it to tremble in his great desire to 
draw it, and thrice he rested from his effort, though still 
he hoped in his heart to string the bow, and shoot 
through the iron. And now at last he might have strung 
it, mightily straining thereat for the fourth time, but 
Odysseus nodded frowning and stayed him, for all his 
eagerness. Then the strong prince Telemachus spake 
among them again : 

* Lo you now, even to the end of my days I shall be a 
coward and a weakling, or it may be I am too young, and 
have as yet no trust in my hands to defend me from such 
an one as does violence without a cause. But come now, 
ye who are mightier men than I, essay the bow and let us 
make an end of the contest' 

Therewith he put the bow from him on the ground, lean- 
ing it against the smooth and well-compacted doors, and 
the swift shaft he propped hard by against the fair bow-tip, 



THE ODYSSEY 299 

and then he sat down once more on the high seat, whence 
he had risen. 

Then Antinous, son of Eupeithes, spake among them, 
saying : ' Rise up in order, all my friends, beginning from 
the left, even from the place whence the wine is poured.' 

So spake Antinous, and the saying pleased them well. 
Then first stood up Leiodes, son of Oenops, who was their 
soothsayer and ever sat by the fair mixing bowl at the 
extremity of the hall; he alone hated their infatuate deeds 
and was indignant with all the wooers. He now first took 
the bow and the swift shaft, and he went and stood by the 
threshold, and began to prove the bow; but he could not 
bend it; or ever that might be, his hands grew weary with 
the straining, his unworn delicate hands ; so he spake among 
the wooers, saying: 

' Friends, of a truth I cannot bend it, let some other take 
it. Ah, many of our bravest shall this bow rob of spirit and 
of life, since truly it is far better for us to die, than to live 
on and to fail of that for which we assemble evermore in 
this place, day by day expecting the prize. Many there be 
even now that hope in their hearts and desire to wed Pene- 
lope, the bedfellow of Odysseus: but when such an one 
shall make trial of the bow and see the issue, thereafter let 
him woo some other fair-robed Achaean woman with his 
bridal gifts and seek to win her. So may our lady wed the 
m^an that gives most gifts, and comes as the chosen of fate.' 

So he spake, and put from him the bow, leaning it against 
the smooth and well-compacted doors, and the swift shaft 
he propped hard by against the fair bow-tip, and then he 
sat down once more on the high seat, whence he had risen. 

But Antinous rebuked him, and spake and hailed him: 
' Leiodes, what word hath escaped the door o£ thy lips ; a 
hard word, and a grievous? Nay, it angers me to hear it, 
and to think that a bow such as this shall rob our bravest of 
spirit and of life, and all because thou canst not draw it. For 
I tell thee that thy lady mother bare thee not of such might 
as to draw a bow and shoot arrows : but there be others of 
the proud wooers that shall draw it soon.' 

So he spake, and commanded Melanthius, the goatherd, 
saying : * Up now, light a fire in the halls, Melanthius ; and 



300 HOMER 

place a great settle by the fire and a fleece thereon, and 
bring forth a great ball of lard that is within, that we young 
men may warm and anoint the bow therewith and prove it, 
and make an end of the contest.' 

So he spake, and Melanthius soon kindled the never- 
resting fire, and drew up a settle and placed it near, and put 
a fleece thereon, and he brought forth a great ball of lard 
that was within. Therewith the young men warmed the 
bow, and made essay, but could not string it, for they were 
greatly lacking of such might. And Antinous still held to 
the task and godlike Eurymachus, chief men among the 
wooers, who were far the most excellent of all. 

But those other twain went forth both together from 
the house, the neatherd and the swineherd of godlike 
Odysseus; and Odysseus passed out after them. But when 
they were now gotten without the gates and the courtyard, 
he uttered his voice and spake to them in gentle words : 

' Neatherd and thou swineherd, shall I say somewhat or 
keep it to myself ? Nay, my spirit bids me declare it. What 
manner of men would ye be to help Odysseus, if he should 
come thus suddenly, I know not whence, and some god were 
to bring him? Would ye stand on the side of the wooers 
or of Odysseus? Tell me even as your heart and spirit bid 
you.' 

Then the neatherd answered him, saying : * Father Zeus^ 
if but thou wouldst fulfil this wish:^ — oh, that that man 
might come, and some god lead him hither ! So shouldest 
thou know what my might is, and how my hands follow to 
obey.' 

In like manner Eumaeus prayed to all the gods that wise 
Odysseus might return to his own home. 

Now when he knew for a surety what spirit they were of, 
once more he answered and spake to them, saying: 

' Behold, home am I come, even I ; after much travail and 
sore am I come in the twentieth year to mine own country. 
And I know how that my coming is desired by you alone of 
all my thralls, for from none besides have I heard a prayer 
that I might return once more to my home. And now I 
will tell you all the truth, even as it shall come to pass. If 

* Placing a colon at ee'A,5wp, 



THE ODYSSEY 301 

the god shall subdue the proud wooers to my hands, I will 
bring you each one a wife, and will give you a heritage of 
your own and a house builded near me, and ye twain shall 
be thereafter in mine eyes as the brethren and companions 
of Telemachus. But behold, I will likewise show you a 
most manifest token, that ye may know me well and be 
certified in heart, even the wound that the boar dealt me 
with his white tusk long ago, when I went to Parnassus with 
the sons of Autocylus.' 

Therewith he drew aside the rags from the great scar. 
And when the twain had beheld it and marked it well, they 
cast their arms about the wise Odysseus, and fell a weeping; 
and kissed him lovingly on head and shoulders. And in like 
manner Odysseus too kissed their heads and hands. And 
now would the sunlight have gone down upon their sorrow- 
ing, had not Odysseus himself stayed them saying: 

' Cease ye from weeping and lamentation, lest some one 
come forth from the hall and see us, and tell it likewise in 
the house. Nay, go ye within one by one and not both 
together, I first and you following, and let this be the token 
between us. All the rest, as many as are proud wooers, 
will not suffer that I should be given the bow and quiver; 
do thou then, goodly Eumaeus, as thou bearest the bow 
through the hall, set it in my hands and speak to the women 
that they bar the well-fitting doors of their chamber. And 
if any of them hear the sound of groaning or the din of 
men within our walls, let them not run forth but abide 
where they are in silence at their work. But on thee, goodly 
Philoetius, I lay this charge, to bolt and bar the outer gate 
of the court and swiftly to tie the knot.' 

Therewith he passed within the fair-lying halls, and went 
and sat upon the settle whence he had risen. And likewise 
the two thralls of divine Odysseus went within. 

And now Eurymachus was handling the bow, warming it 
on this side and on that at the light of the fire; yet even 
so he could not string it, and in his great heart he groaned 
mightily; and in heaviness of spirit he spake and called 
aloud, saying: 

* Lo you now, truly am I grieved for myself and for you 
all! Not for the marriage do I mourn so greatly, afflicted 



302 HOMER 

though I be; there are many Achaean women besides, some 
in sea-begirt Ithaca itself and some in other cities. Nay, 
but I grieve, if indeed we are so far worse than godlike 
Odysseus in might, seeing that we cannot bend the bow. It 
will be a shame even for men unborn to hear thereof/ 

Then Antinous, son of Eupeithes, answered him: *Eurym- 
achus, this shall not be so, and thou thyself too knowest it. 
For to-day the feast of the archer god is held in the land, a 
holy feast. Who at such a time would be bending bows? 
Nay, set it quietly by; what and if we should let the axes 
all stand as they are? None methinks will come to the hall 
of Odysseus, son of Laertes, and carry them away. Go to 
nov/, let the wine-bearer pour for libation into each cup in 
turn, that after the drink-offering we may set down the 
curved bow. And in the morning bid Melanthius, the goat- 
herd, to lead thither the very best goats in all his herds, 
that we may lay pieces of the thighs on the altar of Apollo 
the archer, and assay the bow and make an end of the 
contest.' 

So spake Antinous, and the saying pleased them well. 
Then the henchmen poured water on their hands, and 
pages crowned the mixing-bowls with drink, and served 
out the wine to all, when they had poured for libation into 
each cup in turn. But when they had poured forth and 
had drunken to their hearts' desire, Odysseus of many coun- 
sels spake among them out of a crafty heart, saying: 

' Hear me, ye v/ooers of the renowned queen, that I may 
say that which my heart within me bids. And mainly to 
Eurymachus I make my prayer and to the godlike Antinous, 
forasmuch as he has spoken even this word aright, namely, 
that for this present ye cease from your archery and leave 
the issue to the gods ; and in the morning the god will give 
the victory to whomsoever he will. Come, therefore, give 
me the polished bow, that in your presence I may prove my 
hands and strength, whether I have yet any force such as 
once was in my supple limbs, or whether my wanderings and 
needy fare have even now destroyed it.' 

So spake he and they all were exceeding wroth, for fear 
lest he should string the polished bow. And Antinous re- 
buked him, and spake and hailed him: 



THE ODYSSEY 303 

' Wretched stranger, thou hast no wit, nay never so little. 
Art thou not content to feast at ease in our high company, 
and to lack not thy share of the banquet, but to listen to our 
speech and our discourse, while no guest and beggar beside 
thee hears our speech ? Wine it is that wounds thee, honey- 
sweet wine, that is the bane of others too, even of all who 
take great draughts and drink out of measure. Wine it was 
that darkened the mind even of the Centaur, renowned 
Eurytion, in the hall of the high-hearted Peirithous, when 
he went to the Lapithae; and after that his heart was dark- 
ened with wine, he wrought foul deeds in his frenzy, in the 
house of Peirithous. Then wrath fell on all the heroes, 
and they leaped up and dragged him forth through the 
porch, when they had shorn off his ears and nostrils with 
the pitiless sword, and then with darkened mind he bare 
about with him the burden of his sin in foolishness of heart. 
Thence was the feud begun between the Centaurs and man- 
kind; but first for himself gat he hurt, being heavy with 
wine. And even so I declare great mischief unto thee if 
thou shalt string the bow, for thou shalt find no courtesy at 
the hand of anyone in our land, and anon we will send thee 
in a black ship to Echetus, the maimer of all men, and 
thence thou shalt not be saved alive. Nay then, drink at 
thine ease, and strive not still with men that are younger 
than thou.' 

Then wise Penelope answered him: 'Antinous, truly it is 
not fair nor just to rob the guests of Telemachus of their 
due, whosoever he may be that comes to this house. Dost 
thou think if yonder stranger strings the great bow of 
Odysseus, in the pride of his might and of his strength of 
arm, that he will lead me to his home and make me his 
wife? Nay he himself, methinks, has no such hope in his 
breast ; so, as for that, let not any of you fret himself while 
feasting in this place; that v/ere indeed unmeet.' 

Then Eurymachus, son of Polybus, answered her, saying: 
* Daughter of Icarius, wise Penelope, it is not that we deem 
that he will lead thee to his home, — far be such a thought 
from us, — but we dread the speech of men and women, lest 
some day one of the baser sort among the Achaeans say: 
" Truly men far too mean are wooing the wife of one that 



304 HOMER 

is noble, nor can they string the polished bow. But a 
stranger and a beggar came in his wanderings, and lightly- 
strung the bow, and shot through the iron." Thus will they 
speak, and this will turn to our reproach/ 

Then wise Penelope answered him : * Eurymachus, never 
can there be fair fame in the land for those that devour 
and dishonour the house of a prince, but why make ye this 
thing into a reproach? But, behold, our guest is great of 
growth and well-knit, and avows him to be born the son of 
a good father. Come then, give ye him the polished bow, 
that we may see that which is to be. For thus will I declare 
my saying, and it shall surely come to pass. If he shall 
string the bow and Apollo grant him renown, I will clothe 
him in a mantle and a doublet, goodly raiment, and I will 
give him a sharp javelin to defend him against dogs and 
men, and a two-edged sword and sandals to bind beneath 
his feet, and I will send him whithersoever his heart and 
spirit bid him go.' 

Then wise Telemachus answered her, saying: * My mother, 
as for the bow, no Achaean is mightier than I to give or to 
deny it to whomso I will, neither as many as are lords in 
rocky Ithaca nor in the isles on the side of Elis, the pasture- 
land of horses. Not one of these shall force me in mine 
own despite, if I choose to give this bow, yea once and for 
all, to the stranger to bear away with him. But do thou 
go to thine own chamber and mind thine own housewiferies, 
the loom and distaff, and bid thine handmaids ply their 
tasks. But the bow shall be for men, for all, but for me in 
chief, for mine is the lordship in the house.' 

Then in amaze she went back to her chamber, for she 
laid up the wise saying of her son in her heart. She 
ascended to her upper chamber with the women her hand- 
maids, and then was bewailing Odysseus, her dear lord, till 
grey-eyed Athene cast sweet sleep upon her eyelids. 

Now the goodly swineherd had taken the curved bow, and 
was bearing it, when the wooers all cried out upon him in 
the halls. And thus some one of the haughty youths would 
speak : ' Whither now art thou bearing the curved bow, 
thou wretched swineherd, crazed in thy wits ? Lo, soon shall 
the swift hounds of thine own breeding eat thee hard hy thy 



THE ODYSSEY 305 

swme, alone and away from men, if Apollo will be gracious 
to us and the other deathless gods.' 

Even so they spake, and he took and set down the bow 
in that very place, being affrighted because many cried out 
on him in the halls. Then Telemachus from the other side 
spake threateningly, and called aloud: 

' Father, bring hither the bow, soon shalt thou rue it that 
thou servest many masters. Take heed, lest I that am 
younger than thou pursue thee to the field, and pelt thee with 
stones, for in might I am the better. If only I were so much 
mightier in strength of arm than all the wooers that are in 
the halls, soon would I send many an one forth on a woe- 
ful way from out our house, for they imagine mJschief 
against us.' 

So he spake, and all the wooers laughed sweetly at him, 
and ceased now from their cruel anger toward Telemachus. 
Then the swineherd bare the bow through the hall, and went 
up to wise Odysseus, and set it in his hands. And he called 
forth the nurse Eurycleia from the chamber and spake to 
her: 

' Wise Eurycleia, Telemachus bids thee bar the well- 
fitting doors of thy chamber, and if any of the women hear 
the sound of groaning or the din of men within our walls, 
let them not go forth, but abide where they are in silence at 
their work.' 

So he spake, and wingless her speech remained, and she 
barred the doors of the fair-lying chambers. 

Then Philoetius hasted forth silently from the house, and 
barred the outer gates of the fenced court. Now there lay 
beneath the gallery the cable of a curved ship, fashioned of 
the byblus plant, wherewith he made fast the gates, and then 
himself passed within. Then he went and sat in the settle 
w^hence he had risen, and gazed upon Odysseus. He already 
was handling the bow, turning it every way about, and prov- 
ing it on this side and on that, lest the worm.s might have 
eaten the horns when the lord of the bow was away. And 
thus men spake looking each one to his neighbour : 

' Verily he has a good eye, and a shrewd turn for a bow ! 
Either, methinks, he himself has such a bow lying by at 
home or else he is set on making one, in such wise does 



306 HOMER 

he turn it hither and thither in his hands, this evil-witted 
beggar/ 

And another again of the haughty youths would say: 
' Would that the fellow may have profit thereof, just so 
surely as he shall ever prevail to bend this bow ! ' 

So spake the wooers, but Odysseus of many counsels had 
lifted the great bow and viewed it on every side, and even 
as when a man that is skilled in the lyre and in minstrelsy, 
easily stretches a cord about a new peg, after tying at either 
end the twisted sheep-gut, even so Odysseus straightway 
bent the great bow, all without effort, and took it in his 
right hand and proved the bow-string, which rang sweetly 
at the touch, in tone like a swallow. Then great grief came 
upon the wooers, and the colour of their countenance was 
changed, and Zeus thundered loud showing forth his tokens. 
And the steadfast goodly Odysseus was glad thereat, in that 
the son of deep-counselling Cronos had sent him a sign. 
Then he caught up a swift arrow which lay by his table, 
bare, but the other shafts were stored within the hollow 
quiver, those whereof the Achaeans were soon to taste. He 
took and laid it on the bridge of the bow, and held the 
notch and drew the string, even from the settle whereon he 
sat, and with straight aim shot the shaft and missed not one 
of the axes, beginning from the first axe-handle, and the 
bronze-weighted shaft passed clean through and out at the 
last. Then he spake to Telemachus, saying: 

' Telemachus, thy guest that sits in the halls does thee no 
shame. In nowise did I miss my mark, nor was I wearied 
iwith long bending of the bow. Still is my might steadfast-- 
not as the wooers say scornfully to shght me. But now is 
it time that supper too be got ready for the Achaeans, while 
it is yet light, and thereafter must we make other sport 
with the dance and the lyre, for these are the crown of the 

feast.' 

Therewith he nodded with bent brows, and Telemachus, 
the dear son of divine Odysseus, girt his sharp sword about 
him and took the spear in his grasp, and stood by his high 
seat at his father's side, armed with the gleaming bronze. 



BOOK XXII 

The killing of the wooers. 

THEN Odysseus of many counsels stripped him of his 
rags and leaped on to the great threshold with his 
bow and quiver full of arrows, and poured forth 
all the swift shafts there before his feet, and spake among 
the wooers: 

' Lo, now is this terrible trial ended at last ; and now will 
T know of another mark, which never yet man has smitten, 
if perchance I may hit it and Apollo grant me renown.' 

With that he pointed the bitter arrow at Antinous. Now 
he was about raising to his lips a fair twy-eared chalice of 
gold, and behold, he was handling it to drink of the wine, 
and death was far from his thoughts. For who among men 
at feast would deem that one man amongst so many, how 
hardy soever he were, would bring on him^ foul death and 
black fate? But Odysseus aimed and smote him with the 
arrow in the throat, and the point passed clean out through 
his delicate neck, and he fell sidelong and the cup dropped 
from his hand as he was smitten, and at once through his 
nostrils there came up a thick jet of slain man's blood, and 
quickly he spurned the table from him with his foot, and 
spilt the food on the ground, and the bread and the roast 
flesh were defiled. Then the wooers raised a clamour 
through the halls when they saw the man fallen, and they 
leaped from their high seats, as men stirred by fear, all 
through the hall, peering everywhere along the well-builded 
walls, and nowhere was there a shield or a mighty spear to 
lay hold on. Then they reviled Odysseus with angry 
words : 

' Stranger, thou shootest at men to thy hurt. Never again 
shalt thou enter other lists, now is utter doom assured thee. 
Yea, for now hast thou slain the man that was far the best 

307 



308 HOMER 

of all the noble youths in Ithaca; wherefore vultures shall 
devour thee here/ 

So each one spake, for indeed they thought that Odysseus 
had not slain him wilfully; but they knew not in their folly 
that on their own heads, each and all of them, the bands of 
death had been made fast. Then Odysseus of many coun- 
sels looked fiercely on them, and spake: 

* Ye dogs, ye said in your hearts that I should never more 
come home from the land of the Trojans, in that ye wasted 
my house and lay with the maidservants by force, and trai- 
torously wooed my wife while I was yet alive, and ye had 
no fear of the gods, that hold the wide heaven, nor of the 
indignation of men hereafter. But now the bands of death 
have been made fast upon you one and all.' 

Even so he spake, and pale fear gat hold on the limbs of 
all, and each man looked about, where he might shun utter 
doom. 

And Eurymachus alone answered him, and spake: 'I? 
thou art indeed Odysseus of Ithaca, come home again, 
with right thou speakest thus, of all that the Achaeans have 
wrought, many infatuate deeds in thy halls and many in the 
field. Howbeit, he now lies dead that is to blame for all, 
Antinous; for he brought all these things upon us, not as 
longing very greatly for the marriage nor needing it sore, 
but with another purpose, that Cronion has not fulfilled for 
him, namely, that he might himself be king over all the land 
of stablished Ithaca, and he was to have lain in wait for thy 
son and killed him. But now he is slain after his deserving, 
and do thou spare thy people, even thine own ; and we will 
hereafter go about the township and yield thee amends for 
all that has been eaten and drunken in thy halls, each for 
himself bringing atonement of twenty oxen worth, and re- 
quiting thee in gold and bronze till thy heart is softened, 
but till then none may blame thee that thou art angry.' 

Then Odysseus of many counsels looked fiercely on him, 
and said : * Eurymachus, not even if ye gave me all your 
heritage, all that ye now have, and whatsoever else ye might 
in any wise add thereto, not even so would I henceforth hold 
my hands from slaying, ere the wooers had paid for all their 
transgressions. And now the choice lies before you, whether 



THE ODYSSEY 309 

to fight in fair battle or to fly, if any may avoid death and 
the fates. But there be some, methinks, that shall not escape 
from utter doom.' 

He spake, and their knees were straightway loosened and 
their hearts melted within them. And Eurym.achus spake 
among them yet again : 

'Friends, it is plain that this man will not hold his un- 
conquerable hands, but now that he has caught up the 
polished bow and quiver, he will shoot from the smooth 
threshold till he has slain us all ; wherefore let us take thought 
for the delight of battle. Draw your blades, and hold up 
the tables to ward off the arrows of swift death, and let us 
all have at him with one accord, and drive him, if it may be, 
from the threshold and the doorway and then go through 
the city, and quickly would the cry be raised. Thereby 
should this man soon have shot his latest bolt.' 

Therewith he drew his sharp two-edged sword of bronze, 
and leapt on Odysseus with a terrible cry, but in the same 
moment goodly Odysseus shot the arrow forth and struck 
him on the breast by the pap, and drave the swift shaft into 
his liver. So he let the sword fall from his hand, and 
grovelling over the table he bowed and fell, and spilt the 
food and the two-handled cup on the floor. And in his 
agony he smote the ground with his brow, and spurning with 
both his feet he overthrew the high seat, and the mist of 
death was shed upon his eyes. 

Then Amphinomus made at renowned Odysseus, setting 
straight at him, and drew his sharp sword, if perchance he 
might make him give ground from the door. But Telem- 
achus was beforehand with him, and cast and smote him 
from behind with a bronze-shod spear between the shoul- 
ders, and drave it out through the breast, and he fell with a 
crash and struck the ground full with his forehead. Then 
Telemachus sprang away, leaving the long spear fixed in 
Amphinomus, for he greatly dreaded lest one of the 
Achaeans might run upon him with his blade, and stab him 
as he drew forth the spear, or smite him with a down 
stroke^ of the sword. So he started and ran and came quickly 
to his father, and stood by him, and spake winged words: 
^Or, reading Trpowpiji'ea, smite him as he stooped over the corpse. 



310 HOMER 

' Father, lo, now I will bring thee a shield and two spears 
and a helmet all of bronze, close fitting on the temples, and 
when I return I will arm myself, and likewise give arms to 
the swineherd and the neatherd yonder: for it is better to 
be clad in full armour/ 

And Odysseus of many counsels answered him saying: 
'Run and bring them while I have arrows to defend me, 
lest they thrust me from the doorway, one man against 
them all/ 

So he spake, and Telemachus obeyed his dear father, and 
went forth to the chamber, where his famous weapons were 
lying. Thence he took out four shields and eight spears, 
and four helmets of bronze, with thick plumes of horse 
hair, and he started to bring them and came quickly to his 
father. Now he girded the gear of bronze about his own 
body first, and in like manner the two thralls did on the 
goodly armour, and stood beside the wise and crafty Odys- 
seus. Now he, so long as he had arrows to defend him, 
kept aiming and smote the wooers one by one in his house, 
and they fell thick one upon another. But when the arrows 
failed the prince in his archery, he leaned his bow against 
the doorpost of the stablished hall, against the shining faces 
of the entrance. As for him he girt his fourfold shield 
about his shoulders and bound on his mighty head a well 
wrought helmet, with horse hair crest, and terribly the 
plume waved aloft. And he grasped two mighty spears 
tipped with bronze. 

Now there was in the well-builded hall a certain postern 
raised above the floor, and there by the topmost level of the 
threshold of the stablished hall, was a way into an open 
passage, closed by well-fitted folding doors. So Odysseus 
bade the goodly swineherd stand near thereto and watch the 
way, for thither there was but one approach. Then Agelaus 
spake among them, and declared his word to all : 

' Friends, will not some man climb up to the postern, 
and give word to the people, and a cry would be raised 
straightway; so should this man soon have shot his latest 
bolt?' 

Then Melanthius, the goatherd, answered him, saying : ' It 
may in no wise be, pirince Agelaus; for the fair gate of the 



THE ODYSSEY 311 

courtyard is terribly nigh, and perilous is the entrance to 
the passage, and one man, if he were valiant, might keep 
back a host. But come, let m.e bring you armour from the 
inner chamber, that ye may be clad in hauberks, for, me- 
thinks, within that room and not elsewhere did Odysseus and 
his renowned son lay by the arms/ 

Therewith Melanthius, the goatherd, climbed up by the 
clerestory of the hall to the inner chambers of Odysseus, 
whence he took twelve shields and as many spears, and as 
many helmets of bronze with thick plumes of horse hair, and 
he came forth and brought them speedily, and gave them 
to the wooers. Then the knees of Odysseus were loosened 
and his heart melted within him, when he saw them girding 
on the armour and brandishing the long spears in their 
hands, and great, he saw, was the adventure. Quickly he 
spake to Telemachus winged words : 

*Telemachus, sure I am that one of the women in the 
halls is stirring up an evil battle against us, or perchance it 
is Melanthius.' 

Then wise Telemachus answered him : ' My father, it is I 
that have erred herein and none other is to blame, for I 
left the well-fitted door of the chamber open, and there has 
been one of them but too quick to spy it. Go now, goodly 
Eumaeus, and close the door of the chamber, and mark if 
it be indeed one of the women that does this mischief, or 
Melanthius, son of Dolius, as methinks it is.' 

Even so they spake one to the other. And Melanthius, 
the goatherd, went yet again to the chamber to bring the fair 
armour. But the goodly swineherd was ware thereof, and 
quickly he spake to Odysseus who stood nigh him: 

* Son of Laertes, of the seed of Zeus, Odysseus, of many 
devices, lo, there again is that baleful man, whom we our- 
selves suspect, going to the chamber; do thou tell me truly, 
shall I slay him if I prove the better man, or bring him^ 
hither to thee, that he may pay for the many transgressions 
that he has devised in thy house ? ' 

Then Odysseus of many counsels answered saying: 
'Verily, I and Telemachus will keep the proud wooers 
within the halls, for all their fury, but do ye twain tie his 
feet and arms behind his back and cast him into the cham- 



312 HOMER 

ber, and close the doors after you,' and make fast to his 
hody a twisted rope, and drag him up the lofty pillar till he 
be near the roof beams, that he may hang there and live 
for long, and suffer grievous torment/ 

So he spake, and they gave good heed and hearkened. 
So they v^^ent forth to the chamber, but the goatherd v^^ho 
was within knew not of their coming. Now he was seeking 
for the armour in the secret place of the chamber, but they 
twain stood in waiting on either side the doorposts. And 
when Melanthius, the goatherd, was crossing the threshold 
with a goodly helm in one hand, and in the other a wide 
shield and an old, stained with rust, the shield of the hero 
Laertes that he bare when he was young — but at that time it 
was laid by, and the seams of the straps were loosened, — 
then the twain rushed on him and caught him, and dragged 
him in by the hair, and cast him on the floor in sorrowful 
plight, and bound him hand and foot in a bitter bond, tightly 
winding each limb behind his back, even as the son of 
Laertes bade them, the steadfast goodly Odysseus. And 
they made fast to his body a twisted rope, and dragged 
him up the lofty pillar till he came near the roof beams. 
Then didst thou speak to him and gird at him, swineherd 
Eumaeus : 

* Now in good truth, Melanthius, shalt thou watch all 
night, lying in a soft bed as beseems thee, nor shall the 
early-born Dawn escape thy ken, when she comes forth from 
the streams of Oceanus, on her golden throne, in the hour 
when thou art wont to drive the goats to make a meal for 
the wooers in the halls.' 

So he was left there, stretched tight in the deadly bond. 
But they twain got into their harness, and closed the shining 
door, and went to Odysseus, wise and crafty chief. There 
they stood breathing fury, four men by the threshold, while 
those others within the halls were many and good warriors. 
Then Athene, daughter of Zeus, drew nigh them, like Men- 
tor in fashion and in voice, and Odysseus was glad when 
he saw her and spake, saying: 

* Mentor, ward from us hurt, and remember me thy dear 



2 Or, as Mr. Merry suggests in his note, ' tie boards behind him,' as 
method of torture. He compares Aristoph. Thesm. 931, 940. 



a 



THE OnySSEY 313 

companion, that befriended thee often, and thou art of like 
age with me.' 

So he spake, deeming the while that it was Athene, sum- 
moner of the host. But the wooers on the other side shouted 
in the halls, and first Agelaus son of Damastor rebuked 
Athene, saying: 

* Mentor, let not the speech of Odysseus beguile thee to 
fight against the wooers, and to succour him. For me- 
thinks that on this wise we shall work our will. When we 
shall have slain these men, father and son, thereafter shalt 
thou perish with them, such deeds thou art set on doing in 
these halls; nay, with thine own head shalt thou pay the 
price. But when with the sword we shall have overcome 
your violence, we will mingle all thy possessions, all that 
thou hast at home or in the field, with the wealth of Odys- 
seus, and we will not suffer thy sons nor thy daughters to 
dwell in the halls, nor thy good wife to gad about in the 
town of Ithaca.' 

So spake he, and Athene was mightily angered at heart, 
and chid Odysseus in wrathful words: * Odysseus, thou hast 
no more steadfast might nor any prowess, as when for nine 
whole years continually thou didst battle with the Trojans 
for high born Helen, of the white arms, and many men 
thou slewest in terrible warfare, and by thy device the wide- 
wayed city of Priam was taken. How then, now that thou 
art come to thy house and thine own possessions, dost thou 
bewail thee and art of feeble courage to stand before the 
wooers? Nay, come hither, friend, and stand by me, and 
I will show thee a thing, that thou mayest know what manner 
of man is Mentor, son of Alcimus, to repay good deeds in 
the ranks of foemen.' 

She spake, and gave him not yet clear victory in full, but 
still for a while made trial of the might and prowess of 
Odysseus and his renowned son. As for her she flew up to the 
roof timber of the murky hall, in such fashion as a swallow 
flies, and there sat down. 

Now Agelaus, son of Damastor, urged on the wooers, and 
likewise Eurynomus and Amphimedon and Demoptolemus 
and Peisandrus son of Polyctor, and wise Polybus, for these 
were in valiancy far the best men of the wooers, that still 



314 HOMER 

lived and fought for their lives; for the rest had fallen 
already beneath the bow and the thick rain of arrows. Then 
Agelaus spake among them, and made known his word to all: 

' Friends, now at last will this man hold his unconquerable 
hands. Lo, now has Mentor left him and spoken but vain 
boasts, and these remain alone at the entrance of the doors. 
Wherefore now, throw not your long spears all together, but 
come, do ye six cast first, if perchance Zeus may grant us to 
smite Odysseus and win renown. Of the rest will we take 
no heed, so soon as that man shall have fallen.* 

So he spake and they all cast their javelins, as he bade 
them, eagerly ; but behold, Athene so wrought that they were 
all in vain. One man smote the doorpost of the stablished 
hall, and another the well-fastened door, and the ashen spear 
of yet another wooer, heavy with bronze, stuck fast in the 
wall. So when they had avoided all the spears of the wooers, 
the steadfast goodly Odysseus began first to speak among 
them : 

* Friends, now my word is that we too cast and hurl into 
the press of the wooers, that are mad to slay and strip us 
beyond the measure of their former iniquities.' 

So he spake, and they all took good aim and threw their 
sharp spears, and Odysseus smote Demoptolemus, and Telem- 
achus Euryades, and the swineherd slew Elatus, and the 
neatherd Peisandrus. Thus they all bit the wide floor with 
their teeth, and the wooers fell back into the inmost part of 
the hall. But the others dashed upon them, and drew forth 
the shafts from the bodies of the dead. 

Then once more the wooers threw their sharp spears 
eagerly; but behold, Athene so wrought that many of them 
were in vain. One man smote the doorpost of the stablished 
hall, and another the well- fastened door, and the ashen spear 
of another wooer, heavy with bronze, struck in the wall. Yet 
Amphimedon hit Telemachus on the hand by the wrist 
lightly, and the shaft of bronze wounded the surface of the 
skin. And Ctesippus grazed the shoulder of Eumaeus with 
a long spear high above the shield, and the spear flew over 
and fell to the ground. Then again Odysseus, the wise and 
crafty, he and his men cast their swift spears into the press 
of the ssrooers, and now once more Odysseus, waster of cities. 



THE ODYSSEY 315 

smote Eurydamas, and Telemachus Amphimedon, and the 
swineherd slew Polybus, and last, the neatherd struck Ctesip- 
pus in the breast and boasted over him, saying: 

* O son of Polytherses, thou lover of jeering, never give 
place at all to folly to speak so big, but leave thy case to the 
gods, since in truth they are far mightier than thou. This 
gift is thy recompense for the ox-foot that thou gavest of 
late to the divine Odysseus, when he went begging through 
the house/ 

So spake the keeper of the shambling kine. Next Odys- 
seus wounded the son of Damastor in close fight with his 
long spear, and Telemachus wounded Leocritus son of 
Euenor, right in the flank with his lance, and drave the 
bronze point clean through, that he fell prone and struck the 
ground full with his forehead. Then Athene held up her 
destroying aegis on high from the roof, and their minds were 
scared, and they fled through the hall, like a drove of kine 
that the flitting gadfly falls upon and scatters hither and 
thither in spring time, when the long days begin. But the 
others set on like vultures of crooked claws and curved 
beak, that come forth from the mountain and dash upon 
smaller birds, and these scour low in the plain, stooping in 
terror from the clouds, while the vultures pounce on them 
and slay them, and there is no help nor way of flight, and 
men are glad at the sport; even so did the company of 
Odysseus set upon the wooers and smite them right and left 
through the hall; and there rose a hideous moaning as their 
heads were smitten, and the floor all ran with blood. 

Now Leiodes took hold of the knees of Odysseus eagerly, 
and besought him and spake winged words : * I entreat thee 
by thy knees, Odysseus, and do thou show mercy on me and 
have pity. For never yet, I say, have I wronged a maiden in 
thy halls by froward word or deed, nay I bade the other 
wooers refrain, whoso of them wrought thus. But they 
hearkened not unto me to keep their hands from evil. 
Wherefore they have met a shameful death through their 
own infatuate deeds. Yet I, the soothsayer among them, 
that have wrought no evil, shall fall even as they, for no 
grace abides for good deeds done.' 

Then Odysseus of many counsels looked askance at him, 



316 HOMER 

and said: *If indeed thou dost avow thee to be the sooth- 
sayer of these men, thou art like to have often prayed in the 
halls that the issue of a glad return might be far from me, 
and that my dear wife should follow thee and bear thee 
children; wherefore thou shalt not escape the bitterness of 
death/ 

Therewith he caught up a sword in his strong hand, that 
lay where Agelaus had let it fall to the ground when he was 
slain, and drave it clean through his neck, and as he yet 
spake his head fell even to the dust. 

But the son of Terpes, the minstrel, still sought how he 
might shun black fate, Phemius, who sang among the wooers 
of necessity. He stood with the loud lyre in his hand hard 
by the postern gate, and his heart was divided within him, 
whether he should slip forth from the hall and sit down by 
the well-wrought altar of great Zeus of the household court, 
whereon Laertes and Odysseus had burnt many pieces of the 
thighs of oxen, or should spring forward and beseech Odys- 
seus by his knees. And as he thought thereupon this 
seemed to him the better way, to embrace the knees of 
Odysseus, son of Laertes. So he laid the hollow lyre on the 
ground between the mixing-bowl and the high seat inlaid 
with silver, and himself sprang forward and seized Odys- 
seus by the knees, and besought him and spake winged 
words: 

* I entreat thee by thy knees, Odysseus, and do thou show 
mercy on me and have pity. It will be a sorrow to thyself 
in the aftertime if thou slayest me who am a minstrel, and 
sing before gods and men. Yea none has taught me but 
myself, and the god has put into my heart all manner of 
lays, and methinks I sing to thee as to a god, wherefore be 
not eager to cut off my head. And Telemachus will testify 
of this, thine own dear son, that not by mine own will or 
desire did I resort to thy house to sing to the wooers at 
their feasts; but being so many and stronger than I they 
led me by constraint.' 

So he spake, and the mighty prince Telemachus heard 
him and quickly spake to his father at his side : * Hold 
thy hand, and wound not this blameless man with the 
sword; and let us save also the henchman Medon, that 



THE ODYSSEY 317 

ever had charge of me in our house when 1 was a child, 
unless perchance Philoetius or the swineherd have already 
slain him, or he hath met thee in thy raging through the 
house/ 

So he spake, and Medon, wise of heart, heard him. 
For he lay crouching beneath a high seat, clad about in the 
new-flayed hide of an ox and shunned black fate. So he 
rose up quickly from under the seat, and cast off the ox-hide, 
and sprang forth and caught Telemachus by the knees, and 
besought him and spake winged words: 

' Friend, here am I ; prithee stay thy hand and speak to 
thy father, lest he harm me with the sharp sword in the 
greatness of his strength, out of his anger for the wooers 
that wasted his possessions in the halls, and in their folly 
held thee in no honour/ 

And Odysseus of many counsels smiled on him and said: 
* Take courage, for lo, he has saved thee and delivered 
thee, that thou mayst know in thy heart, and tell it even 
to another, how far more excellent are good deeds than 
evil. But go forth from the halls and sit down in the court 
apart from the slaughter, thou and the full-voiced minstrel, 
till I have accomplished all that I must needs do in the 
house.' 

Therewith the two went forth and gat them from the hall. 
So they sat down by the altar of great Zeus, peering about on 
every side, still expecting death. And Odysseus peered all 
through the house, to see if any man was yet alive and hiding 
away to shun black fate. But he found all the sort of them 
fallen in their blood in the dust, like fishes that the fishermen 
have drawn forth in the meshes of the net into a hollow of 
the beach from out the grey sea, and all the fish, sore longing 
for the salt sea waves, are heaped upon the sand, and the sun 
shines forth and takes their life away; so now the wooers lay 
heaped upon each other. Then Odysseus of many counsels 
spake to Telemachus: 

* Telemachus, go, call me the nurse Eurycleia, that I may 
tell her a word that is on my mind/ 

So he spake, and Telemachus obeyed his dear father, and 
smote at the door, and spake to the nurse Eurycleia : * Up 
now, aged wife, that overlookest all the women servants in 



318 HOMER 

our halls, come hither, my father calls thee and has some- 
what to say to thee.' 

Even so he spake, and wingless her speech remained, 
and she opened the doors of the fair-lying halls, and came 
forth, and Telemachus led the way before her. So she found 
Odysseus among the bodies of the dead, stained with blood 
and soil of battle, like a lion that has eaten of an ox of the 
homestead and goes on his way, and all his breast and his 
cheeks on either side are flecked with blood, and he is ter- 
rible to behold; even so was Odysseus stained, both hands 
and feet. Now the nurse, when she saw the bodies of the 
dead and the great gore of blood, made ready to cry aloud 
for joy, beholding so great an adventure. But Odysseus 
checked and held her in her eagerness, and uttering his voice 
3pake to her winged words: 

* Within thine own heart rejoice, old nurse, and be still, 
and cry not aloud; for it is an unholy thing to boast over 
slain men. Now these hath the destiny of the gods over- 
come, and their own cruel deeds, for they honoured none 
of earthly men, neither the bad nor yet the good, that came 
among them. Wherefore they have met a shameful death 
through their own infatuate deeds. But come, tell me the 
tale of the women in my halls, which of them dishonour me, 
and which be guiltless.' 

Then the good nurse Eurycleia answered him: 'Yea now, 
my child, I will tell thee all the truth. Thou hast fifty 
women-servants in thy halls, that we have taught the ways 
of hovisewifery, how to card wool and to bear bondage. Of 
these twelve in all have gone the way of shame, and hon- 
our not me, nor their lady Penelope. And Telemachus 
hath but newly come to his strength, and his mother suf- 
fered him not to take command over the women in this 
house. But now, let me go aloft to the shining upper 
chamber, and tell all to thy wife, on whom some god hath 
sent a sleep.' 

And Odysseus of many counsels answered her, saying: 
* Wake her not yet, but bid the women come hither, who 
in time past behaved themselves unseemly.' 

So he spake, and the old wife passed through the hall, 
to tell the women and to hasten their coming. Then Odys- 



THE ODYSSEY 319 

seus called to him Telemachus, and the neatherd, and the 
swineherd, and spake to them winged words: 

* Begin ye now to carry out the dead, and bid the women 
help you, and thereafter cleanse the fair high seats and 
the tables with water and porous sponges. And when ye 
have set all the house in order, lead the maidens with- 
out the stablished hall, between the vaulted room and the 
goodly fence of the court, and there slay them with your 
long blades, till they shall have all given up the ghost and 
forgotten the love that of old they; had at the bidding of 
the wooers, in secret dalliance/ 

Even so he spake, and the women came all in a crowd 
together, making a terrible lament and shedding big tears. 
So first they carried forth the bodies of the slain, and set 
them beneath the gallery of the fenced court, and propped 
them one on another; and Odysseus himself hasted the 
women and directed them, and they carried forth the dead 
perforce. Thereafter they cleansed the fair high seats and 
the tables with v/ater and porous sponges. And Telemachus, 
and the neatherd, and the swineherd, scraped with spades 
the floor of the well-builded house, and, behold, the maidens 
carried all forth and laid it without the doors. 

Now when they had made an end of setting the hall in 
order, they led the maidens forth from the stablished hall, 
and drove them up in a narrow space between the vaulted 
room and the goodly fence of the court, whence none might 
avoid; and wise Telemachus began to speak to his fellows, 
saying : * God forbid that I should take these women's lives 
by a clean death, these that have poured dishonour on my 
head and on my mother, and have lain with the v/ooers/ 

With that word he tied the cable of a dark-prowed ship to 
a great pillar and flung it round the vaulted room, and fas- 
tened it aloft, that none might touch the ground with her 
feet. And even as when thrushes, long of wing, or doves 
fall into a net that is set in a thicket, as they seek to their 
roosting-place, and a loathly bed harbours them, even so the 
women held their heads all in a rov/, and about all their 
necks nooses were cast, that they might die by the most 
pitiful death. And they writhed with their feet for a little 
space, but for no long while. 



320 HOMER 

Then they led out Melanthius through the doorway and 
the court, and cut off his nostrils and his ears with the piti- 
less sword, and drew forth his vitals for the dogs to devour 
raw, and cut off his hands and feet in their cruel anger. 

Thereafter they washed their hands and feet, and went 
into the house to Odysseus, and all the adventure was over. 
So Odysseus called to the good nurse Eurycleia : * Bring 
sulphur, old nurse, that cleanses all pollution and bring me 
fire, that I may purify the house with sulphur, and do thou 
bid Penelope come here with her handmaidens, and tell all 
the women to hasten into the hall.' 

Then the good nurse Eurycleia made answer : * Yea, my 
child, herein thou hast spoken aright. But go to, let me 
bring thee a mantle and a doublet for raiment, and stand 
not thus in the halls with thy broad shoulders wrapped in 
rags; it were blame in thee so to do.' 

And Odysseus of many counsels answered her, saying: 
* First let a fire now be made me in the hall.' 

So he spake, and the good nurse Eurycleia was not slow 
to obey, but brought fire and brimstone; and Odysseus 
thoroughly purged the women's chamber and the great hall 
and the court. 

Then the old wife went through the fair halls of Odysseus 
to tell the women, and to hasten their coming. So they 
came forth from their chamber with torches in their hands, 
and fell about Odysseus, and embraced him and kissed and 
clasped his head and shoulders and his hands lovingly, and 
a sweet longing came on him to weep^ and moan;, for he 
remembered them every one. 



BOOK XXIII 

Odysseus maketh himself known to Penelope, tells his adventures 
briefly, and in the morning goes to Laertes and makes himself known 
to him. 

THEN the ancient woman went tip into the upper 
chamber laughing aloud, to tell her mistress how her 
dear lord was within, and her knees moved fast for 
joy, and her feet stumbled one over the other; and she 
stood above the lady's head and spake to her, saying: 

* Awake, Penelope, dear child, that thou mayest see with 
thine own eyes that which thou desirest day by day. Odys- 
seus hath come, and hath got him to his own house, though 
late hath he come, and hath slain the proud wooers that 
troubled his house, and devoured his substance, and oppressed 
his child/ 

Then wise Penelope answered her : * Dear nurse, the 
gods have made thee distraught, the gods that can make 
foolish even the wisdom of the wise, and that stablish the 
simple in understanding. They it is that have marred thy 
reason, though heretofore thou liadst a prudent heart. Why 
dost thou m.ock me, v/ho have a spirit full of sorrow, to 
speak these wild words, and rousest me out of sweet slumber, 
that had bound me and overshadowed mine eyelids? Never 
yet have I slept so sound since the day that Odysseus 
went forth to see that evil Ilios, never to be named. Go 
to now, get thee down and back to the women's cham- 
ber, for if any other of the maids of my house had come 
and brought me such tidings, and wakened me from sleep, 
straightway would I have sent her back woefully to return 
within the women's chamber; but this time thine old age 
shall stand thee in good stead.' 

Then the good nurse Eurycleia answered her: *I mock 
thee not, dear child, but in very deed Odysseus is here, and 
hath come home, even as I tell thee. He is that guest on 

K— Vol.22 321 HC 



322 HOMER 

whom all men wrought such dishonour in the halls. But 
long ago Telemachus was ware of him, that he was within 
the house, yet in his prudence he hid the counsels of his 
father, that he might take vengeance on the violence of the 
haughty wooers/ 

Thus she spake, and then w^as Penelope glad, and leap- 
ing from her bed she fell on the old woman's neck, and 
let fall the tears from her eyelids, and uttering her voice 
spake to her winged words : ' Come, dear nurse, I pray thee, 
tell me all truly — if indeed he hath come home as thou say- 
est — how he hath laid his hands on the shameless wooers, 
he being but one man, while they abode ever in their com- 
panies within the house.' 

Then the good nurse Eurycleia answered her : ' I saw not, 
I wist not, only I heard the groaning of men slain. And 
ive in an inmost place of the well-builded chambers sat all 
amazed, and the close-fitted doors shut in the room, till thy 
son called me from the cham.ber, for his father sent him out 
to that end. Then I found Odysseus standing among the 
slain, who around him, stretched on the hard floor, lay one 
upon the other; it would have comforted thy heart to see 
him, all stained like a lion with blood and soil of battle. 
And now are all the wooers gathered in an heap by the gates 
of the court, v/hile he is purifying his fair house with brim- 
stone, and hath kindled a great fire, and hath sent me forth 
to call thee. So come with me, that ye may both enter into 
your heart's delight,^ for ye have suffered much affliction. 
And even now hath this thy long desire been fulfilled; thy 
lord hath come alive to his own hearth, and hath found both 
thee and his son in the halls; and the wooers that wrought 
him evil he hath slain, every man of them, in his house.' 

Then wise Penelope answered her : * Dear nurse, boast 
not yet over them with laughter. Thou knowest hov/ wel- 
come the sight of him v»^ould be in the halls to all, and to me 
in chief, and to his son that we got between us. But this is 
no true tale, as thou declarest it, nay but it is one of the 
deathless gods that hath slain the proud wooers, in wrath 
at their bitter insolence and evil deeds. For they honoured 
none of earthly men, neither the good nor yet the bad, that 
•*■ Reading cr<^wi»' o . . djiA4>07spw» 



THE ODYSSEY 323 

came among them. Wherefore they have suffered an evil 
doom through their own infatuate deeds. But Odysseus, 
far away hath lost his homeward path to the Achaean land, 
and himself is lost/ 

Then the good nurse Eurycleia made answer to her : * My 
child, what word hath escaped the door of thy lips, in that 
thou saidest that thy lord, who is even now w^ithin, and by 
his own hearthstone, would return no more ? Nay, thy heart 
is ever hard of belief. Go to nov/, and I will tell thee be- 
sides a most manifest token, even the scar of the wound that 
the boar on a time dealt him with his white tusk. This I 
spied while v/ashing his feet, and fain I would have told it 
even to thee, but he laid his hand on my mouth, and in the 
fulness of his wisdom suffered me not to speak. But come 
with me and I will stake my life on it; and if I play thee 
false, do thou slay me by a death most pitiful.' 

Then wise Penelope made answer to her : ' Dear nurse, it 
is hard for thee, how wise soever, to observe the purposes 
of the everlasting gods. None the less let us go to my child, 
that I may see the wooers dead, and him that slew them.' 

With that word she went down from the upper chamber, 
and much her heart debated, whether she should stand 
apart, and question her dear lord or draw nigh, and clasp 
and kiss his head and hands. But when she had come within 
and had crossed the threshold of stone, she sat down over 
against Odysseus, in the light of the fire, by the further 
wall. Now he was sitting by the tall pillar, looking down 
and waiting to know if perchance his noble wife would 
speak to him, when her eyes beheld him. But she sat long 
in silence, and amazemient came upon her soul, and now she 
would look upon him steadfastly with her eyes, and now again 
she knew him not, for that he was clad in vile raiment. 
And Telemachus rebuked her, and spake and hailed her : 

' Mother mine, ill mother, of an ungentle heart, why 
turnest thou thus away from my father, and dost not sit by 
and question him and ask him all ? No other woman in the 
world would harden her heart to stand thus aloof from her 
lord, who after much travail and sore had come to her in 
the twentieth year to his own country. But thy heart is 
ever harder than stone/ 



S*:! HOMER 

Then wise Penelope answered him, saying : * Child, my 
mind is amazed within me, and I have no strength to speak, 
nor to ask him aught, nay nor to look on him face to face. 
But if in truth this be Odysseus, and he hath indeed come 
home, verily we shall be ware of each other the more surely, 
for we have tokens that we twain know, even v/e, secret 
from all others.' 

So she spake, and the steadfast goodly Odysseus smiled, 
and quickly he spake to Telemachus winged words : ' Telem- 
achus, leave now thy mother to make trial of me within 
the chambers ; so shall she soon come to a better knowledge 
than heretofore. But now I go filthy, and am clad in vile 
raiment, wherefore she has me in dishonour, and as yet will 
not allow that I am he. Let us then advise us how all may 
be for the very best. For whoso has slain but one man in 
a land, even that one leaves not many behind him to take 
up the feud for him^ turns outlaw and leaves his kindred and 
his own country ; but Vv^e have slain the very stay of the city, 
the men v/ho were far the best of all the noble youths in 
Ithaca. So this I bid thee consider.' 

Then wise Telemachus answered him, saying : ' Father, 
see thou to this^ for they say that thy counsel is far the best 
among men, nor might any other of mortal men contend 
with thee. But right eagerly will we go with thee now, and 
I think we shall not lack prowess, so far as might is ours.' 

And Odysseus of many counsels answered him saying: 
*Yea noWj I will tell on what wise methinks it is best. 
First go ye to the bath and array you in your doublets, and 
bid the maidens in the chambers to take to them their gar- 
ments. Then let the divine minstrel, with his loud lyre in 
hand, lead off for us the measure of the mirthful dance. So 
shall any man that hears the sound from without, whether 
a wayfarer or one of those that dwell around, say that it 
is a wedding feast. And thus the slaughter of the wooers 
shall not be noised abroad through the tovv^n before we go 
forth to our well-wooded farm-land. Thereafter shall we 
consider what gainful counsel the Olympian may vouchsafe 
for us.' 

So he spake, and they gave good ear and hearkened to 
him. So first they went to the bath, and arrayed them in 



THE ODYSSEY 325 

doublets, and the women were apparelled, and the divine 
minstrel took the hollow harp, and aroused in them the 
desire of sweet song and of the happy dance. Then the 
great hall rang round them with the sound of the feet of 
dancing men and of fair-girdled women. And whoso heard 
it from without would say: 

* Surely some one has wedded the queen of many wooers^ 
Hard of heart was she, nor had she courage to keep the 
great house of her wedded lord continually till his coming.' 

Even so men spake, and knew not how these things were 
ordained. Meanwhile, the house-dame Eurynome had bathed 
the great-hearted Odysseus within his house, and anointed 
him with olive-oil, and cast about him a goodly mantle and 
a doublet. Moreover Athene shed great beauty from his 
head downwards, and made him greater and more mighty 
to behold, and from his head caused deep curling locks to 
flow, like the hyacinth flower. And as when some skilful 
man overlays gold upon silver, one that Hephaestus and 
Pallas Athene have taught all manner of craft, and full of 
grace is his handiwork, even so did Athene shed grace about 
his head and shoulders, and forth from the bath he came, in 
form like to the immortals. Then he sat down again on the 
high seat, whence he had arisen, over against his wife, and 
spake to her, saying: 

* Strange lady, surely to thee above all womankind the 
Olympians have given a heart that cannot be softened. No 
other woman in the world would harden her heart to stand 
thus aloof from her husband, who after much travail and 
sore had come to her, in the twentieth year, to his own 
country. Nay come, nurse, strew a bed for me to lie all 
alone, for assuredly her spirit within her is as iron.' 

Then wise Penelope answered him again : ' Strange man, 
I have no proud thoughts nor do I think scorn of thee, nor 
am I too greatly astonied, but I know right well what man- 
ner of man thou wert, when thou wentest forth out of 
Ithaca, on the long-oared galley. But come, Eurycleia, 
spread for him the good bedstead outside the stablished 
bridal chamber that he built himself. Thither bring ye 
forth the good bedstead and cast bedding thereon, even 
fleeces and rugs and shining blankets.' 



326 HOMER 

So she spake and made trial of her lord, but Odysseus in 
sore displeasure spake to his true wife, saying: * Verily a 
bitter word is this, lady, that thou hast spoken. Who has 
set my bed otherwhere? Hard it would be for one, how 
skilled so ever, unless a god were to come that might easily 
set it in another place, if so he would. But of men there is 
none living, howsoever strong in his youth, that could lightly 
upheave it, for a great token is wrought in the fashioning 
of the bed, and it was I that made it and none other. There 
was growing a bush of olive, long of leaf, and most goodly 
of growth, within the inner court, and the stem as large as a 
pillar. Round about this I built the cham.ber, till I had fin- 
ished it, with stones close set, and I roofed it over well and 
added thereto compacted doors fitting well. Next I sheared 
off all the light wood of the long-leaved olive, and rough- 
hewed the trunk upwards from the root, and smxoothed it 
around with the adze, well and skilfully, and made straight 
the line thereto and so fashioned it into the bed-post, and I 
bored it all v/ith the auger. Beginning from this bed-post, 
I wrought at the bedstead till I had finished it, and made it 
fair with inlaid v^^ork of gold and of silver and of ivory. 
Then I made fast therein a bright purple band of oxhide. 
Even so I declare to thee this token, and I know not, lady, 
if the bedstead be yet fast in his place, or if somiC m,an has 
cut away the stem of the olive tree, and set the bedstead 
otherwhere.' 

So he spake, and at once her knees were loosened, and 
her heart melted within her, as she knew the sure tokens 
that Odysseus showed her. Then she fell a weeping, and ran 
straight toward him and cast her hands about his neck, and 
kissed his head and spake, saying : 

• ^ Be not angry with me, Odysseus, for thou wert ever at 
other tim.es the w^isest of men. It is the gods that gave us 
sorrow, the gods who begrudged us that we should abide 
together and have joy of our youth, and come to the thresh- 
old of old age. So now be not wroth with me hereat nor 
full of indignation, because at the first, when I saw thee, I 
did not welcome thee straightway. For always my heart 
within my breast shuddered, for fear lest som.e man should 
come and deceive me with his words, for many they be that 



THE ODYSSEY 327 

devise gainful schemes and evil. Nay even Argive Helen, 
daughter of Zeus, would not have lain with a stranger, and 
taken him for a lover, had she known that the warlike sons 
of the Achaeans would bring her home again to her own 
dear country. Howsoever, it was the god that set her upon 
this shameful deed; nor ever, ere that, did she lay up in her 
heart the thought of this folly, a bitter folly, whence on us 
too first came sorrow. But now that thou hast told all the 
sure tokens of our bed, which never was seen by mortal 
man, save by thee and me and one maiden only, the daughter 
of Actor, that my father gave me ere yet I had come hither, 
she who kept the doors of our strong bridal chamber, even 
now dost thou bend my soul, all ungentle as it is.' 

Thus she spake, and in his heart she stirred yet a greater 
longing to lament, and he wept as he embraced his beloved 
wife and true. And even as when the sight of land is wel- 
come to swimmers, whose well-wrought ship Poseidon hath 
smitten on the deep, all driven with the wind and swelling 
waves, and but a remnant hath escaped the grey sea-water 
and swum to the shore, and their bodies are all crusted with 
the brine, and gladly have they set foot on land and escaped 
an evil end; so welcome to her was the sight of her lord, 
and her white arms she would never quite let go from his 
neck. And now would the rosy-fingered Dav/n have risen 
upon their weeping, but the goddess, grey-eyed Athene, 
had other thoughts. The night she held long in the utmost 
West, and on the other side she stayed the golden-throned 
Dawn by the stream Oceanus, and suffered her not to har- 
ness the swift-footed steeds that bear light to men, Lampus 
and Phaethon, the steeds ever young, that bring the 
morning. 

Then at the last, Odysseus of many counsels spake to his 
wife, saying: * Lady, we have not yet come to the issue of 
all our labours; but still there will be toil unmeasured, long 
and difficult, that I must needs bring to a full end. Even so 
the spirit of Teiresias foretold to me, on that day when I 
went down into the house of Hades, to inquire after a re- 
turning for myself and my company. Wherefore come, 
lady, let us to bed, that forthwith we may take our joy oi 
rest beneath the spell of sweet sleep.' 



328 HOMER 

Then wise Penelope answered him : ' Thy bed verily shall 
be ready whensoever thy soul desires it, forasmuch as the 
gods have indeed caused thee to come back to thy stablished 
home and thine own country. But now that thou hast noted 
it and the god has put it into thy heart, come, tell me of this 
ordeal, for m.ethinks the day will come when I must learn 
it, and timely knowledge is no hurt.' 

And Odysseus of many counsels answered her saying: 
'Ah, why now art thou so instant with me to declare it? 
Yet I will tell thee all and hide nought. Howbeit thy heart 
shall have no joy of it, as even I myself have no pleasure 
therein. For Teiresias bade me fare to many cities of men, 
carrying a shapen oar in my hands, till I should come to 
such m^en as know not the sea, neither eat meat savoured 
with salt, nor have they knowledge of ships of purple cheek 
nor of shapen oars, which serve for wings to ships. And 
he told mie this with manifest token, which I will not hide 
from thee. In the day when another wayfarer should meet 
me and say that I had a winnowing fan on my stout shoul- 
der, even then he bade me make fast my shapen oar in the 
earth, and do goodly sacrifice to the lord Poseidon, even 
with a ram and a bull and a boar, the mate of swine, and 
depart for home, and offer holy hecatombs to the deathless 
gods, that keep the wide heaven, to each in order due. And 
from the sea shall mine own death come, the gentlest death 
that may be, which shall end me, foredone with smooth old 
age, and the folk shall dv/ell happily around. All this, he 
said, was to be fulfilled.' 

Then v/ise Penelope answered him saying: 'If indeed the 
gods will bring about for thee a happier old age at the last, 
then is there hope that thou mayest yet have an escape from 
evil.' 

Thus they spake one to the other. Meanwhile, Eurynome 
and the nurse spread the bed with soft coverlets, by the 
light of the torches burning. But when they had busied 
them and spread the good bed, the ancient nurse went back 
to her chamber to lie down, and Eurynome, the bower- 
maiden, guided them on their way to the couch, with torches 
in her hands, and when she had led them to the bridal- 
chamber she departed. And so they came gladly to the rites 



THE ODYSSEY 329 

of their bed, as of old. But Telemachus, and the neatherd, 
and the swineherd stayed their feet from dancing, and made 
the women to cease, and themselves gat them to rest through 
the shadowy halls. 

Now when the twain had taken their fill of sweet love, 
they had delight in the tales, which they told one to the 
other. The fair lady spoke of all that she had endured in 
the halls at the sight of the ruinous throng of wooers, who 
for her sake slew many cattle, kine and goodly sheep; and 
many a cask of wine was broached. And in turn, Odysseus, 
of the seed of Zeus, recounted all the griefs he had wrought 
on men, and all his own travail and sorrow, and she was 
delighted with the story, and sweet sleep fell not upon her 
eyelids till the tale was ended. 

He began by setting forth how he overcame the Cicones, 
and next arrived at the rich land of the Lotus-eaters, and all 
that the Cyclops wrought, and what a price he got from him 
for the good companions that he devoured, and showed no 
pity. Then how he came to Aeolus, who received him 
gladly and sent him on his way ; but it was not yet ordained 
that he should reach his own country, for the storm-wind 
seized him again, and bare him over the teeming seas, mak- 
ing grievous moan. Next how he came to Telepylus of the 
Laestrygonians, who brake his ships and slew all his goodly- 
greaved companions, and Odysseus only escaped with his 
black ship. Then he told all the wiles and many contriv- 
ances of Circe, and how in a benched ship he fared to the 
dank house of Hades, to seek to the soul of Theban Teiresias. 
There he beheld all those that had been his companions, and 
his mother who bore him and nurtured him, while yet he 
was a little one. Then how he heard the song of the full- 
voiced Sirens, and came to the Rocks "Wandering, and to 
terrible Charybdis, and to Scylla, that never yet have men 
avoided scatheless. Next he told how his com.pany slew 
the kine of Jlelios, and how Zeus, that thunders on high, 
smote the swift ship with the flaming bolt, and the good 
crew perished all together, and he alone escaped from evil 
fates. And how he came to the isle Ogygia, and to the 
nymph Calypso, who kept him there in her hollow caves, 
longing to have him for her lord, and nurtured him and said 



330 HOMER 

that she would make him never to know death or age all 
his days: yet she never won his heart within his breast. 
Next how with great toil he came to the Phaeacians, who 
gave him all worship heartily, as to a god, and sent him 
with a ship to his ov\^n dear country, with gifts of bronze, 
and of gold, and raiment in plenty. This was the last word 
of the tale, when sweet sleep came speedily upon him, sleep 
that loosens the limbs of men, unknitting the cares of his 
soul. 

Then the goddess, grey-eyed Athene, turned to new 
thoughts. When she deemed that Odysseus had taken his 
fill of love and sleep, straightway she aroused from out 
Oceanus the golden-throned Dawn, to bear light to men. 
Then Odysseus gat him from his soft bed, and laid this 
charge on his wife, saying: 

^ Lady, already have we had enough of labours, thou and 
1; thou, in weeping here, and longing for my troublous 
return, I, while Zeus and the other gods bound me fast in 
pain, despite my yearning after home, away from mine own 
country. But now that we both have come to the bed of 
our desire, take thou thought for the care of my wealth 
within the halls., But as for the sheep that the proud wooers 
have slain, I myself will lift many more as spoil, and others 
the Achaeans will give, till they fill all my folds. But now, 
behold, I go to the well-wooded farm-land, to see my good 
father, who for love of me has been in sorrow continually^ 
And this charge I lay on thee, lady, too wise though thou art 
to need it. Quickly will the bruit go forth with the rising 
sun, the bruit concerning the wooers, whom I slew in the 
halls. Wherefore ascend with the women thy handmaids 
into the upper chamber, and sit there and look on no man, 
nor ask any question.' 

Therewith he girded on his shoulder his goodly armour, 
and roused Telemachus and the neatherd and the swine- 
herd, and bade them all take weapons of war in their hands. 
So they were not disobedient to his word, but clad them- 
selves in mail, and opened the doors and went forth, and 
Odysseus led the way. And now there was light over all 
the earth; but them Athene hid in night, and quickly con- 
ducted out of the town. 




BOOK XXIV 

The Ithacans bury the wooers, and sitting in council resolve on 
revenge. And coming near the house of Laertes, are met by Odys- 
seus, and Laertes with Telemachus and servants, the whole number 
twelve, and are overcome, and submit. 

'T'OW Cyllenian Hermes called forth from the halls the 
souls of the wooers, and he held in his hand his 
wand that is fair and golden, wherewith he lulls 
the eyes of men, of whomso he will, while others again he 
even wakens out of sleep. Herewith he roused and led the 
souls who followed gibbering. iVnd even as bats flit gibber- 
ing in the secret place of a wondrous cave, when one has 
fallen down from the cluster on the rock, where they cling 
each to each up aloft, even so the souls gibbered as they 
fared together^ and Hermes, the helper, led them down the 
dank ways. Past the streams of Oceanus and the White 
Rock, past the gates of the Sun they sped and the land of 
dreams, and soon they came to the mead of asphodel, where 
dwell the souls, the phantoms of men outworn. There they 
found the soul of Achilles, son of Peleus, and the souls of 
Patroclus, and of noble Antilochus, and of Aias, who in 
face and form was goodliest of all the Danaans after the 
noble son of Peleus. 

So these were flocking round Achilles, and the spirit of 
Agamemnon, son of Atreus, drew nigh sorrowful; and 
about him were gathered all the other shades, as many as 
perished with him in the house of Aegisthus, and met their 
doom. Now the soul of the son of Peleus spake to him first, 
saying : 

' Son of Atreus, verily we deemed that thou above all 
other heroes v/ast evermore dear to Zeus, whose joy is in 
the thunder, seeing that thou wast lord over warriors, many 
and mighty men, in the land of the Trojans where we 
Achaesms suffered affliction. But lo, thee too was deadly 

331 



332 HOMER 

doom to visit early,* the doom that none avoids of all men 
born. Ah, would that in the fulness of thy princely honour, 
thoa hadst met death and fate in the land of the Trojans ! 
So would all the Achaean host have builded thee a barrow, 
yea and for thy son thou wouldst have won great glory in 
the aftertime. But now it has been decreed for thee to 
perish by a most pitiful death.' 

Then the soul of the son of Atreus answered, and spake: 
' Happy art thou son of Peleus, godlike Achilles, that didst 
die in Troy-land far from Argos, and about thee fell others, 
the best of the sons of Trojans and Achaeans, fighting for 
thy body; but thou in the whirl of dust layest mighty and 
mightily fallen, forgetful of thy chivalry. And we strove 
the livelong day, nor would we ever have ceased from the 
fight, if Zeus had not stayed us with a tempest. Anon when 
we had borne thee to the ships from out of the battle, we 
laid thee on a bier and washed thy fair flesh clean with 
warm water and unguents, and around thee the Danaans 
shed many a hot tear and shore their hair. And forth from 
the sea came thy mother with the deathless maidens of the 
waters, when they heard the tidings ; and a wonderful wail- 
ing rose over the deep, and trembling fell on the limbs of 
all the Achaeans. Yea, and they would have sprung up and 
departed to the hollow ships, had not one held them back 
that knew much lore from of old, Nestor, whose counsel 
proved heretofore the best. Out of his good-will he .made 
harangue, and spake among them: 

* " Hold, ye Argives, flee not, young lords of the Achaeans. 
Lo, his mother from the sea is she that comes, with the 
deathless maidens of the waters, to behold the face of her 
dead son.'' 

* So he spake, and the high-hearted Achaeans ceased from 
their flight. Then round thee stood the daughters of the 
ancient one of the sea, holding a pitiful lament, and they 
clad thee about in raiment incorruptible. And all the nine 
Muses one to the other replying with sweet voices began 
the dirge; there thou wouldest not have seen an Argive but 
wept, so mightily rose up the clear chant. Thus for seven- 
teen days and nights continually did v/e all bewail thee, im- 

1 Reading irpm. 



THE ODYSSEY 333 

mortal gods and mortal men. On the eighteenth day we gave 
thy body to the flames, and many well-fatted sheep we slew 
around thee, and kine of shamxbling gait. So thou wert 
burned in the garments of the gods, and in much unguents 
and in sweet honey, and many heroes of the Achaeans 
moved mail-clad around the pyre when thou wast burning, 
both footmen and horse, and great was the noise that arose. 
But when the flame of Hephaestus had utterly abolished 
thee, lo, in the morning we gathered together thy white 
bones, Achilles, and bestowed them in unmixed wine and in 
unguents. Thy mother gave a twy-handled golden urn, and 
s?,id that it was the gift of Dionysus, and the workmanship 
of renowned Hephaestus. Therein lie thy white bones, 
great Achilles, and mingled therewith the bones of Patro- 
clus, son of Menoetias, that is dead, but apart is the dust of 
Antilochus, whom thou didst honour above all thy other 
companions, after Patroclus that was dead. Then over them 
did we pile a great and goodly tomb, we the holy host of 
Argive warriors, high on a jutting headland over wide 
Hellespont, that it might be far seen from off the sea by 
men that now are, and by those that shall be hereafter. 
Then thy mother asked the gods for glorious prizes in the 
games, and set them in the midst of the lists for the cham- 
pions of the Achaeans. In days past thou hast been at the 
funeral games of many a hero, whenso, after some king's 
death, the young men gird themselves and make them ready 
for the meed of victory, but couldst thou have seen these 
gifts thou wouldst most have marvelled in spirit, such 
glorious prizes did the goddess set there to honour thee, 
even Thetis, the silver- footed; for very dear wert thou to 
the gods. Thus not even in death hast thou lost thy name, 
but to thee shall be a fair renown for ever among all men, 
Achilles. But what joy have I now herein, that I have 
wound up the clew of war, for on my return Zeus devised 
for me an evil end at the hands bf Aegisthus and my wife 
accursed ? ' 

So they spake one to the other. And nigh them came the 
Messenger, the slayer of Argos, leading down the ghosts 
of the wooers by Odysseus slain, and the two heroes were 
amazed at the sight and went straight toward them. And 



334 HOMER 

the soul o£ Agamemnon, son of Atreus, knew the dear son 
of Melaneus, renowned Amphimedon, who had been his 
host, having his dwelling in Ithaca. The soul of the son of 
Atreus spake to him first, saying: 

* Amphim.edon, Vv^hat hath befallen you, that ye have come 
beneath the darkness of earth, all of you picked men and of 
like age? it is even as though one should choose out and 
gather together the best warriors in a city. Did Poseidon 
smite 3/0U in your ships and rouse up contrary winds and the 
long waves? Or did unfriendly men, perchance, do you hurt 
upon the land as ye were cutting off their oxen and fair 
flocks of sheep, or while they fought to defend their city 
and the women thereof? Answer and tell m.e, for I avow 
me a friend of thy house. Rememberest thou not the day 
Y^hen I came to your house in Ithaca with godlike Menelaus, 
to urge Odysseus to follow with me to Ilios on the decked 
ships ? And it was a full month ere we had sailed all across 
the wide sea, for scarce could we win to our cause Odysseus, 
waster of cities/ 

Then the ghost of Amphimedon answered him, and spake: 
* Most famous son of Atreus, king of men, Agamemnon, I 
remember all these things, O fosterling of Zeus, as thou 
declarest them, and I in turn will tell thee all the tale well 
and truly, even our death and evil end, on what wise it befell. 
We wooed the wife of Odysseus that was long afar, and she 
neither refused the hated bridal nor was minded to make 
an end, devising for us death and black fate. Also this 
other wile she contrived in her heart. She set up in her 
halls a mighty web, fine of woof and very wide, whereat she 
would weave, and anon she spake among us: 

* " Ye princely youths, my wooers, now that goodly Odys- 
seus is dead, do ye abide patiently, how eager soever to 
speed on this marriage of mine, till I finish the robe. I 
would not that the threads perish to no avail, even this 
shroud for the hero Laertes, against the day when the ruin- 
ous doom shall bring him low, of death that lays men at 
their length. So shall none of the Achaean) women in the 
land count it blame in me; as well might bC; were he to 
lie without a winding-sheet, a maa that had gotten great 
possessions." 



THE ODYSSEY 335 

* So spake she, and our high hearts consented thereto. So 
then in the daytime she would weave the mighty web, and 
in the night unravel the same, when she had let place the 
torches by her. Thus for the space of three years she hid 
the thing by guile and won the minds of the Achaeans; but 
when the fourth year arrived and the seasons came round, 
as the months waned and many days were accomplished^ 
then it was that one of her women who knew all declared it, 
and we found her unravelling the splendid web. Thus she 
finished it perforce and sore against her will. Now when 
she brought the robe to light, after she had woven the great 
web and washed it, and it shone even as sun or moon, at that 
very hour som.e evil god led Odysseus, I know not whence, to 
the upland farm, where the swineherd abode in his dwelling. 
Thither too came the dear son of divine Odysseus out of 
sandy Pylos, voyaging with his black ship. These twain 
framed an evil death for the wooers, and came to the re- 
nowned town. Odysseus verily came the later, and Telem- 
achus v/ent before and led the way. Now the swineherd 
brought Odysseus clad in vile raim^ent, in the likeness of a 
beggar, a wretched man and an old, leaning on a staff, and 
behold, he was clad about in sorry raiment. And none of us, 
not even the elders, could know him for that he was, on this 
his sudden appearing, but with evil words we assailed him 
and hurled things at him. Yet for a while he hardened his 
heart to endure both the hurlings and the evil v\^ords in his 
own halls; but at the last, when the spirit of Zeus, lord of the 
aegis, aroused him, by the help of Telemachus he took up all 
the goodly weapons, and laid them by in the inner cham.ber 
and drew the bolts. Next in his great craft he bade his wife 
to offer his bow and store of grey iron to the wooers to be 
the weapons of our contest, luckless that we were, and the 
beginning of death. Now not one of us could stretch the 
string of the strong bow; far short we fell of that might. 
But when the great bow came to the hands of Odysseus, then 
we all clamoured and forbade to give him the bow, how much 
soever he might speak, but Telemachus alone was instant 
with him and commanded him to take it Then he took the 
bow into his hands, the steadfast goodly Odysseus, and 
lightly he strung it, and sent the arrow through the iroa, 



336 HOMER 

Then straight he went to the threshold and there took hi^ 
stand, and poured forth the swift arrows, glancing terribly 
around, and smote the king Antinous. Thereafter on the 
others he let fly his bolts, winged for death, with straight 
aim, and the wooers fell thick one upon another. Then was 
it known how that some god was their helper, for pressing 
on as their passion drave them, they slew the men right and 
left through the halls, and thence there arose a hideous 
moaning, as heads were smitten and the floor all ran with 
blood. So we perished, Agamemnon, and even now our 
bodies lie uncared for in the halls of Odysseus, for the 
friends of each one at home as yet know nought, even they 
who might wash the black-clotted blood out of our wounds, 
and lay out the bodies and wail the dirge, for that is the 
due of the dead.* 

Then the ghost of the son of Atreus answered him : ' Ah, 
happy son of Laertes, Odysseus of many devices, yea, for 
a wife most excellent hast thou gotten, so good was the 
wisdom of constant Penelope, daughter of Icarius, that was 
duly mindful of Odysseus, her wedded lord. Wherefore the 
fame of her virtue shall never perish, but the immortals 
will make a gracious song in the ears of men on earth to the 
fame of constant Penelope. In far other wise did the daugh- 
ter of Tyndareus devise ill deeds, and slay her wedded lord, 
and hateful shall the song of her be among men, and an 
evil repute hath she brought upon all womankind, even on 
the upright.' 

Even so these twain spake one to the other, standing in 
the house of Hades, beneath the secret places of the earth. 

Now when those others had gone down from the city, 
quickly they came to the rich and well-ordered farm land of 
Laertes, that he had won for himself of old, as the prize of 
great toil in war. There was his house, and all about it ran 
the huts wherein the thralls were wont to eat and dwell and 
sleep, bondsmen that worked his will. And in the house 
there was an old Sicilian woman, who diligently cared for 
the old man, in the upland far from the city. There Odys- 
seus spake to his thralls and to his son, saying : 

* Do ye now g&t you within the well-builded house, and 
quickly sacrifice the best of the swine for the midday meal. 



THE ODYSSEY 337 

but I will make trial of my father, whether he will know me 
again and be aware of me when he sees me, or know me 
not, so long have I been away/ 

Therewith he gave the thralls his weapons of war. Then 
they went speedily to the house, while Odysseus drew near 
to the fruitful vineyard to make trial of his father. Now he 
found not Dolius there, as he went down into the great 
garden, nor any of the thralls nor of their sons. It chanced 
that they had all gone to gather stones for a garden fence, 
and the old man at their head. So he found his father alone 
in the terraced vineyard, digging about a plant. He was 
clothed in a filthy doublet, patched and unseemly, with 
clouted leggings of oxhide bound about his legs, against the 
scratches of the thorns, and long sleeves over his hands by 
reason of the brambles, and on his head he wore a goatskin 
cap, and so he nursed his sorrow. Now when the steadfast 
goodly Odysseus saw his father thus wasted with age and 
in great grief of heart, he stood still beneath a tall pear tree 
and let fall a tear. Then he communed with his heart and 
soul, whether he should fall on his father's neck and kiss 
him, and tell him all, how he had returned and come to his 
own country, or whether he should first question him and 
prove him in every word. And as he thought within himself, 
this seemed to him the better way, namely, first to prove his 
father and speak to him sharply. So with this intent the 
goodly Odysseus v/ent up to him. Now he was holding 
his head down and kept digging about the plant, while his 
renowned son stood by him and spake, saying: 

* Old man, thou hast no lack of skill in tending a garden ; 
lo, thou carest well for ali,^ nor is there aught whatsoever, 
either plant or fig-tree, or vine, yea, or olive, or pear, or 
garden-bed in all the close, that is not well seen to. Yet an- 
other thing will I tell thee and lay not up wrath thereat in 
thy heart. Thyself art scarce so well cared for, but a pitiful 
old age is on thee, and withal thou art withered and un- 
kempt, and clad unseemly. It cannot be to punish thy sloth 
that thy master cares not for thee ; there shows nothing of the 
slave about thy face and stature, for thou art like a kingly 

' Supplying opxaTov from the precedLag clause as object to %ec Other 
'^loostructions are possible. 



338 HOMER 

man, even like one who should lie soft, when he has washed 
and eaten well, as is the manner of the aged. But come 
declare me this and plainly tell it all. Whose thrall art thou, 
and whose garden dost thou tend? Tell me moreover truly, 
that I may surely know, if it be indeed to Ithaca that I am 
now come, as one yonder told me who met with me but now 
on the way hither. He was but of little understanding, for 
he deigned not to tell me all nor to heed my saying, when I 
questioned him concerning my friend, whether indeed he is 
yet alive or is even now dead and within the house of Hades. 
For I will declare it and do thou mark and listen : once did I 
kindly entreat a man in mine own dear country, who came 
to our home, and never yet has any mortal been dearer of 
all the strangers that have drawn to my house from afar. 
He declared him to be by lineage from out of Ithaca, and 
said that his own father was Laertes son of Arceisius. So 
I led him to our halls and gave him good entertainment, with 
all loving-kindness, out of the plenty that was within. Such 
gifts too I gave him as are the due of guests : of well v/rought 
gold I gave him seven talents, and a mixing bowl of flow- 
ered work, all of silver, and twelve cloaks of single fold, 
and as many coverlets, and as many goodly mantles and 
doublets to boot, and besides all these, four women skilled 
in all fair works and most comely, the women of his choice.* 
Then his father answered him, weeping : ' Stranger, thou 
art verily come to that country whereof thou askest, but 
outrageous men and froward hold it. And these thy gifts, 
thy countless gifts, thou didst bestow in vain. For if thou 
hadst found that man yet living in the land of Ithaca he 
would have sent thee on thy way with good return of thy 
presents, and with all hospitality, as is due to the man that 
begins the kindness. But ccme, declare m^e this and plainly 
tell me all; how many years are passed since thou didst 
entertain him, thy guest ill-fated and my child, — if ever such 
an one there was, — hapless man, whom far from his friends 
and his country's soil, the fishes, it may be, have devoured 
in the deep sea, or on the shore he has fallen the prey of 
birds and beasts. His mother wept not over him nor clad 
him for burial, nor his father, we that begat him. Nor did 
his bride, v/hom. men sought with rich gifts, the constant 



THE ODYSSEY 339 

Penelope, bewail her lord upon the bier, as was meet, nor 
closed his eyes, as is the due of the departed. Moreover, 
tell me this truly, that I may surely know, who art thou and 
whence of the sons of men? Where is thy city and where 
are they that begat thee? Where now is thy swift ship 
moored, that brought thee thither with thy godlike company? 
Hast thou come as a passenger on another's ship, while they 
set thee ashore and went away ? * 

Then Odysseus of many counsels answered him, saying: 
' Yea now, I will tell thee all most plainly. From out of 
Alybas I come, where I dwell in a house renowned, and am 
the son of Apheidas the son of Polypemon, the prince, and 
my own name is Eperitus. But some god drave me wander- 
ing hither from Sicania against my will, and yonder my ship 
is moored toward the upland away from the city. But for 
Odysseus, this is now the fifth year since he went thence and 
departed out of my country. Ill-fated was he, and yet he 
had birds of good omen when he fared away, birds on the 
right; wherefore I sped him gladly on his road, and gladly 
he departed, and the heart of us twain hoped yet to meet in 
friendship on a day and to give splendid gifts.' 

So he spake, and on the old man fell a black cloud of 
sorrow. With both his hands he clutched the dust and 
ashes and showered them on his gray head, with ceaseless 
groaning. Then the heart of Odysseus was moved, and up 
through his nostrils throbbed anon the keen sting of sorrow 
at the sight of his dear father. And he sprang towards 
him and fell on his neck and kissed him, saying: 

* Behold, I here, even I, my father, am the man of whom 
thou askest; in the twentieth year am I come to mine own 
country. But stay thy weeping and tearful lamentation, for 
I will tell thee all clearly, though great need there is of haste. 
I have slain the wooers in our halls and avenged their bitter 
scorn and evil deeds.' 

Then Laertes answered him and spake, saying : * If thou 
art indeed Odysseus, mine own child, that art come hither, 
show me now a manifest token, that I may be assured.' 

Then Odysseus of many counsels answered him saying: 
* Look first on this scar and consider it, that the boar dealt 
tne with his white tusk on Parnassus, whither I had gone, and 



340 HOMER 

thou didst send me forth, thou and my lady mother, to 
Autolycus my mother's father, to get the gifts which when 
he came hither he promised and covenanted to give me. But 
come, and I will even tell thee the trees through all the ter- 
raced garden, which thou gavest me once for mine own, and 
I was begging of thee this and that, being but a little child, 
and following thee through the garden. Through these very 
trees we were going, and thou didst tell me the names of 
each of them. Pear-trees thirteen thou gavest me and ten 
apple-trees and figs two-score, and, as we went, thou didst 
name the fifty rows of vines thou wouldest give me, whereof 
each one ripened at divers times, with all manner of clusters 
on their boughs, when the seasons of Zeus wrought mightily 
on them from on high.' 

So he spake, and straightway his knees were loosened, and 
his heart melted within him, as he knew the sure tokens that 
Odysseus showed him. About his dear son he cast his 
arms, and the steadfast goodly Odysseus caught him fainting 
to his breast. Now when he had got breath and his spirit 
came to him again, once more he answered and spake, 
saying : 

* Father Zeus, verily ye gods yet bear sway on high 
01ym|)us, if indeed the wooers have paid for their infatuate 
pride ! But now my heart is terribly afraid, lest straightway 
all the men of Ithaca come up against us here, and haste to 
send messages everywhere to the cities of the Cephallenians.* 

Then Odysseus of many counsels answered him saying: 
"Take courage, and let not thy heart be careful about these 
matters. But come, let us go to the house that lies near the 
garden, for thither I sent forward Telemachus and the neat- 
herd and the swineherd to get ready the meal as speedily as 
may be.' 

After these words the twain set out to the goodly halls. 
Now when they had come to the fair-lying house, they found 
Telemachus and the neatherd and the swineherd carving 
much flesh, and mixing the dark wine. Meanwhile the 
Sicilian handmaid bathed high-hearted Laertes in his house, 
and anointed him with olive-oil, and cast a fair mantle about 
him. Then Athene drew nigh, and made greater the limbs 
of the shepherd of the people, taller she made him than 



THE ODYSSEY 341 

before and mightier to behold. Then he went forth from 
the bath, and his dear son marvelled at him, beholding him 
like to the deathless gods in presence. And uttering his 
voice he spake to him winged words: 

* Father, surely one of the gods that are from everlasting 
hath made thee goodlier and greater to behold.' 

Then wise Laertes answered him, saying : * Ah, would to 
father Zeus and Athene and Apollo, that such as I was 
when I took Nericus, the stablished castle on the foreland of 
the continent, being then the prince of the Cephallenians, 
would that in such might, and with mail about my shoulders, 
I had stood to aid thee yesterday in our house, and to beat 
back the wooers; so should I have loosened the knees of 
many an one of them in the halls, and thou shouldest have 
been gladdened in thine inmost heart ! ' 

So they spake each with the other. But when the others 
had ceased from their task and made ready the feast, they 
sat down all orderly on chairs and on high seats. Then 
they began to put forth their hands on the meat, and 
the old man Dolius drew nigh, and the old man's sons withal 
came tired from their labour in the fields, for their mother, 
the aged Sicilian woman, had gone forth and called them, she 
that saw to their living and diligently cared for the old 
man, now that old age had laid hold on him. So soon as 
they looked on Odysseus and took knowledge of him, they 
stood still in the halls in great amazement. But Odysseus 
addressed them in gentle words, saying: 

' Old man, sit down to meat and do ye forget your mar- 
velling, for long have we been eager to put forth our hands 
on the food, as we abode in the hall alway expecting your 
coming.' 

So he spake, and Dolius ran straight toward him stretch- 
ing forth both his hands, and he grasped the hand of 
Odysseus and kissed it on the wrist, and uttering his voice 
spake to him winged words: 

' Beloved, forasmuch as thou hast com.e back to us who 
sore desired thee, and no longer thought to see thee, and 
the gods have led thee home again; — ^hail to thee and 
welcome manifold, and may the gods give thee all good 
fortune ! Moreover tell me this truly, that I may be assured. 



342 HOMER 

whether wise Penelope yet knows vv/-ell that thou hast come 
back hither, or whether we shall dispatch a messenger.' 

Then Odysseus of many counsels answered saying: * Old 
man, already she knows all; what need to busy thyself 
herewith ? ' 

Thereon the other sat him down again on his polished 
settle. And in like wise the sons of Dolius gathered about 
the renowned Odysseus, and greeted him well and clasped his 
hands, and then sat down all orderly by Dolius their father. 

So they were busy with the meal in the halls. Now 
Rumour the messenger went swiftly all about the city, tell- 
ing the tale of the dire death and fate of the wooers. And 
the people heard it, and all at once gathered together from 
every side v/ith sighing and groaning before the house of 
Odysseus. And each brought forth his dead from the halls, 
and buried them; but those that came out of other cities 
they placed on swift ships and sent with fisherfolk, each 
to be carried to his own home. As for them they all fared 
together to the assembly-place, in sorrow of heart. When 
they were all gathered and come together, Eupeithes arose 
and spake among them, for a comfortless grief lay heavy on 
his heart for his son Antinous, the first man that goodl}' 
Odysseus had slain. Weeping for him he made harangue 
and spake among them: 

' Friends, a great deed truly hath this man devised against 
the Achaeans. Some with his ships he led away, many 
men and noble, and his hollow ships hath he lost, and utterly 
lost of his comxpany, and others again, and those far the 
best of the Cephallenians he hath slain on his coming home. 
Up now, before ever he gets him swiftly either to Pylos 
or to fair Elis, where the Epeians bear sway, let us go forth ; 
else even hereafter shall we have shame of face for ever. 
For a scorn this is even for the ears of men unborn to hear, 
if we avenge not ourselves on the slayers of our sons and of 
our brethren. Life would no more be sweet to me, but 
rather would I die straightway and be with the departed. 
Up, let us be going, lest these fellov/s be beforehand with 
us and get them over the sea.* 

Thus he spake weeping, and pity fell on all the Achaeans. 
Then came near to them Medon and the divine minstrel, 



THE ODYSSEY 343 

forth from the halls of Odysseus, for that sleep had let 
them go. They stood in the midst of the gathering, and 
amazement seized every man. Then Medon, wise of heart, 
spake among them, saying: 

* Hearken to me now, ye men of Ithaca, for surely Odys- 
seus planned not these deeds without the will of the gods. 
Nay I myself beheld a god immortal, who stood hard by 
Odysseus, in the perfect semblance of Mentor; now as a 
deathless god w^as he manifest in front of Odysseus, cheering 
him, and yet again scaring the wooers he stormed through 
the hall, and they fell thick one on another.' 

Thus he spake, and pale fear gat hold of the limbs of all. 
Then the old man, the lord Halitherses, spake among them, 
the son of Mastor, for he alone saw before and after. Out 
of his good will he made harangue and spak^ among them, 
saying : 

* Hearken to me now, ye men of Ithaca, to the word that 
I will say. Through your own cov/ardice, my friends, have 
these deeds come to pass. For ye obeyed not me, nor Men- 
tor, the shepherd of the people, to make your sons cease 
from their foolish ways. A great villainy they v/rought in 
their evil infatuation, wasting the wealth and holding in 
no regard the wife of a prince, while they deemed that he 
would never more come home. And now let things be on 
this wise, and obey my counsel. Let us not go forth 
against him, lest haply some may find a bane of their own 
bringing.' 

So he spake, but they leapt up with a great cry, the more 
part of them, while the rest abode there together; for his 
counsel was not to the m.ind of the more part, but they gave 
ear to Eupeithes, and swiftly thereafter they rushed for 
their armour. So when they had arrayed them in shining 
mail, they assembled together in front of the spacious town. 
And Eupeithes led them in his witlessness, for he thought 
to avenge the slaying of his son, yet himself was never to 
return, but then and there to meet his doom. 

Now Athene spake to Zeus, the son of Cronos, saying: 
'O Father, our father Cronides, throned in the highest, 
answer and tell me what is now the hidden counsel of thy 
heart? Wilt thou yet further rouse up evil war and the 



344 HOMER 

terrible din of battle, or art thou minded to set them at one 
again in friendship ? ' "" 

Then Zeus, the gatherer of the clouds, answered her say- 
ing : ' My child, why dost thou thus straitly question me, and 
ask me this? Nay didst not thou thyself devise this very 
thought, namely, that Odysseus should indeed take ven- 
geance on these men at his coming? Do as thou wilt, but 
I will tell thee of the better way. Now that goodly Odysseus 
hath wreaked vengeance on the wooers, let them make a 
firm covenant together with sacrifice, and let him be kmg 
all his days, and let us bring about oblivion of the slaying 
of their children and their brethren; so may both sides love 
one another as of old, and let peace and wealth abundant be 
their portion/ 

Therewith he roused Athene to yet greater eagerness, and 
from the peaks of Olympus she came glancing down. 

Now when they had put from them the desire of honey- 
sweet food, the steadfast goodly Odysseus began to speak 
among them, saying: 

* Let one go forth and see, lest the people be already 
drawing near against us.' 

So he spake, and the son of Dolius went forth at his 
bidding, and stood on the outer threshold and saw them all 
close at hand. Then straightway he spake to Odysseus 
winged words: 

* Here they be, close upon us ! Quick, let us to arms ! ' 
Thereon they rose up and arrayed them in their harness, 

Odysseus and his men being four, and the six sons of 
Dolius, and likewise Laertes and Dolius did on their ar- 
mour, grey-headed as they were, warriors through stress 
of need. Now when they had clad them in shining mail, 
they opened the gates and went forth and Odysseus led 
them. 

Then Athene, daughter of Zeus, drew near them in the 
likeness of Mentor, in fashion and in voice. And the stead- 
fast goodly Odysseus beheld her and was glad, and straight- 
way he spake to Telemachus his dear son: 

* Telemachus, soon shalt thou learn this, when thou thyself 
art got to the place of the battle where the best men try the 
issue,— namely, not to bring shame on thy father's house. 



THE ODYSSEY 345 

on us who in time past have been eminent for might and 
hardihood over all the world. ' 

Then wise Telemachus answered him, saying : 'Thou shah 
see me, if thou wilt, dear father, in this my mood no whit 
disgracing thy line, according to thy word. ' 

So spake he, and Laertes was glad and spake, saying: 
* What a day has dawned for me, kind gods; yea, a glad 
man am I! My son and my son's son are vying with one 
another in valour.* 

Then gre3''-eyed Athene stood beside Laertes, and spake 
to him: ^O son of Arceisius that art far the dearest of all 
my friends, pray first to the grey-eyed maid and to father 
Zeus, then swing thy long spear aloft and hurl it straight- 
way.' 

Therewith Pallas Athene breathed into him great strength. 
Then he prayed to the daughter of mighty Zeus, and straight- 
way swung his long spear aloft and hurled it, and smote 
Eupeithes through his casque with the cheek-piece of bronze. 
The armour kept not out the spear that went clean through, 
and he fell with a crash, and his arms rattled about his 
body. Then Odysseus and his renowned son fell on the 
fore-fighters, and smote them with swords and two-headed 
spears. And now would they have slain them all and cut 
off their return, had not Athene called aloud, the daughter 
of Zeus lord of the aegis, and stayed all the host of the 
enemy, saying: 

* Hold your hands from fierce fighting, ye men of Ithaca, 
that so ye may be parted quickly, without bloodshed.' 

So spake Athene, and pale fear gat hold of them all. 
The arms flew from their hands in their terror and fell all 
upon the ground, as the goddess uttered her voice. To the 
city they turned their steps, as men fain of life, and the 
steadfast goodly Odysseus with a terrible cry gathered him- 
self together and hurled in on them, like an eagle of lofty 
flight. Then in that hour the son of Cronos cast forth a 
flaming bolt, and it fell at the feet of the grey-eyed goddess, 
the daughter of the mighty Sire. Then grey-eyed Athene 
spake to Odysseus, saying: 

* Son of Laertes, of the seed of Zeus, Odysseus of many 
devices, refrain thee now and stay the strife of even-handed 



346 THE ODYSSEY 

war, lest perchance the son of Cronos be angry with thee, 
even Zeus of the far-borne voice.' 

So spake Athene, and he obeyed and was glad at heart. 
And thereafter Pallas Athene set a covenant between them 
with sacrifice, she, the daughter of Zeus lord of the aegis, 
in the likeness of Mentor, both in fashion and in voice. 



Homer, thy song men liken to the sea. 
With every note of music in his tone, 
With tides that wash the dim dominion 

Of Hades, and light waves that laugh in glee 

Around the isles enchanted: nay, to me 

Thy verse seems as the River of source unknown 
That glasses Egypt's temples overthrown, 

In his sky-nurtur'd stream, eternally. 

No wiser we than men of heretofore 

To find thy mystic fountains guarded fast; 

Enough — thy Hood m^akes green our humafi shore 
As Nilus, Egypt, rolling dozvn his vast. 

His fertile waters, murmuring evermore 

Of gods dethroned, and empires of the Past, 



planned and Designed 
at The Collier Press 
By William Patten 









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